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Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a common condition that affects around 11% of older adults in the United States. While some people don’t experience severe symptoms, others suffer from back pain, numbness in the legs, and a loss of sensation in their feet.

Vertiflex is a minimally invasive procedure that relieves symptoms associated with LSS. It can be a highly effective solution for patients who don’t respond well to conservative treatments.

Exploring how the Vertiflex procedure works can help you decide on the right approach to alleviating LSS-related pain and discomfort.

What is the Vertiflex Procedure? 

The Vertiflex procedure is a minimally invasive treatment for patients with lumbar spinal stenosis. This condition occurs when the spinal canal narrows and causes compression of the nerves in the lower back. This narrowing can lead to pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs. Other symptoms can include sciatica, foot drop, and loss of sexual ability.

During the Vertiflex procedure, a surgeon implants a small, titanium alloy device called the Superion Interspinous Spacer between two adjacent vertebrae in the lumbar spine.

Once in place, the spacer helps to decompress the spinal canal by creating space between the vertebrae. This relieves pressure on the nerves and reduces the LSS symptoms.  

The Vertiflex surgery is performed under local anesthesia. It takes around 20 to 30 minutes to perform. The procedure may take longer if you need more than two Vertiflex implants. You can usually go home a few hours after the surgery.

Vertiflex Pros and Cons 

Your doctor may suggest the Vertiflex procedure if conservative pain relief methods aren’t working. While this surgery has a high success rate, you still need to weigh all the pros and cons before going through with it.


  • Minimally invasive procedure – the procedure requires a small incision (1/2 inch) and takes only 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
  • Outpatient procedure – you can go home on the same day and get back to normal activities shortly.
  • Pain reduction – many patients experience significant relief from the LSS symptoms (reduced pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs).
  • Preserved spinal anatomy – unlike other surgical LSS treatments, such as spinal fusion, the Vertiflex surgery preserves the natural anatomy of your spine.


  • Limited effectiveness – while many patients experience significant improvements in the symptoms, others may not achieve complete pain relief.
  • Potential complications – like any surgery, the Vertiflex procedure carries potential risks and complications, including infection, bleeding, and nerve damage.
  • Suitability – not everyone is a good candidate for the Vertiflex implantation. For example, scoliosis could be a contraindication.

Your doctor has to determine your suitability for this procedure and discuss its pros and cons for your particular case.

Recovery after the Vertiflex Surgery

Compared to other surgical interventions aimed at relieving LSS symptoms, Vertiflex has a relatively short recovery time. You may feel sore for a few days after the procedure. To deal with this, your doctor will prescribe painkillers.

For about six weeks after the surgery, you will have to limit heavy lifting, excessive bending, and other strenuous activities. However, you can still do light exercises and take short walks.

Making a Decision about Vertiflex 

If you suffer from back pain, numbness, and other symptoms related to your lumber spinal stenosis, you may want to consider the Vertiflex procedure. This minimally invasive surgery with a short recovery time can be performed on an outpatient basis.

At the Pain Institute of Middle Tennessee, we have a certified surgical team that has performed numerous Vertiflex procedures. If you believe you can benefit from this surgery, we recommend scheduling a consultation with our specialists soon.