Background: Lumbar spinal stenosis and neurogenic claudication functionally impact thousands of patients per year. Those who fail conservative therapies and are not surgical candidates due to co-morbid conditions have few interventional options available. The recently described mild® procedure (Minimally Invasive Lumbar Decompression) is a candidate to fill this void. While 2 studies have reported no major adverse events with this procedure, the typical post-procedure patient course has not been previously described.
Objective: To examine the minor adverse events and periprocedural course associated with mild. Additionally, to evaluate the efficacy of the procedure with regard to pain relief and functional status.
Design: Retrospective evaluation.
Methods: Forty-two consecutive patients meeting magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) criteria for mild underwent the procedure performed by 2 interventional pain management physicians working at the same center. The pre and post procedure visual analog scale (VAS) as well as markers of global function were recorded. Major and minor adverse events were tracked and patient outcomes reported.
Results: There were no major adverse events reported. Of the minor adverse events, soreness lasting 3.8 days was most frequently reported. No patients required overnight observation and only 5 required postoperative opioid analgesics. Patients self-reported improvement in function as assessed by ability to stand and ambulate for greater than 15 minutes, whereas prior to the procedure 98% reported significant limitations in these markers of global functioning. Visual analog pain scores were significantly decreased by 40% from baseline. Eighty-six percent of the patients reported that they would recommend the mild procedure to others.
Conclusion: The mild procedure appears to be a safe and likely effective option for treatment of neruogenic claudication in patients who have failed conservative therapy and have ligamentum flavum hypertrophy as the primary distinguishing component of the stenosis.