Reno Pain

Vertiflex Spine - Superion Indirect Decompression

Written by Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists staff

spine vertiflex diagram

No pain, no gain. Thousands of athletes live by this motto. But what if your pain is not the effect of your daily workout but something you live with day after day?

Back and leg pain affects millions of Americans every year, causing loss of mobility, lost work, and frustration. The thought of invasive back surgery, with possible problems such as surgical scars, lengthy recovery time and time off from work, is a difficult prospect. However, there is now a treatment option that provides patients with new alternatives for a pain-free life.

The Food and Druf Administration (FDA) recently approved a new treatment option for moderate Lumbar Spinal Stenosis (LSS): The Superion ® Indirect Decompression System (IDS) is a safe and effective treatment for leg pain caused by moderate lumbar stenosis. This minimally invasive treatment fills the gap between conservative care and invasive surgery.

Lumbar spinal stenosis can be the result of aging and “wear and tear” on the spine from everyday activities. It is a narrowing of the spinal canal that may result in pain, numbness, tingling and/or weakness in the back and legs and is usually more noticeable when you walk and decreases when you sit or bend forward. Symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis can include:
• a dull or aching pain spreading to your groin, buttocks or legs
• a numbness or “pins and needles” in your legs, calves, or buttocks
• a decreased endurance for physical activities
• loss of balance
• sciatic pain

If you suspect you may have stenosis, see your doctor. Radiology tests, like MRIs or x-rays, may be needed to diagnose LSS and rule out conditions that have similar symptoms. Conservative, non- surgical treatments options are the first approach and can begin with:
• Rest and reduce activity level
• Prescription pain medications
• Physical therapy and exercise
• Epidural steroid injections to decrease swelling and pain

Up to now, if these non-surgical treatment options offered no relief, the more aggressive treatment of surgery might have been required. Historically, the surgical alternatives were:

Direct Decompression Surgery: To remove bone and other tissue around the nerves causing pain. This surgery helps relieve pressure on your spinal cord and nerves.

Decompression Surgery with Spinal Fusion: To remove bone and tissue and place a bone graft between the bones (usually vertebrae) in the area of the decompression surgery. The bone graft helps new bone to grow between the two bones to “fuse” them, ideally stopping the motion in that portion of the spine. Screws and rods may be used to hold the bones in place.

However, if you have moderate LSS with radiating leg pain and have been treated with non-surgical options for at least 6 months with no relief from your symptoms, there is now another option before direct decompression or fusion surgery: The Superion IDS. The Superion implant is a small titanium device available in different sizes to best match your spinal anatomy. It is inserted through a small incision in the lower back under local anesthesia. There is no destruction of bone or tissue and minimal bleeding.

The simple procedure can be completed in less than one hour and can be done in either the operating room in the hospital or at an out-patient surgical center. The Superion implant is designed to keep your spine positioned so that when you stand upright, the nerves in your back will not be pinched. You will not need to bend forward any longer to relieve your pain with the Superion implant in place. The Superion IDS has gone through a rigorous clinical trial and has been implanted in more than 2000 patients worldwide. The clinical trial results showed leg pain improvement equal to more traditional—and invasive—treatment options. At four years after implant, almost 90% of the patients in the clinical trial expressed continuing satisfaction.

This new treatment for LSS offers a minimally invasive approach to treating moderate lumbar stenosis that means hope for relief of ongoing pain without the long recovery of traditional decompression surgery. Have you been down the treatment road already? If the epidurals and other conservative treatments didn’t provide the relief for which you were hoping, talk to your doctor about the Superion Indirect Decompression System. A life with less pain and more movement could be in your future.

Currently Dr. Pattersonis the only physician trained in and performing the procedure in the state of Nevada.


For additional information on the Superion Indirect Decompression System, ask Dr. Patterson about it, call the Vertiflex® information hotline at (866) 268-6486, or go online at