What is a InterSpinous Spacer?
The Vertiflex Superion® insperspinous spacer by Boston Scientific is a small, FDA-approved device designed to relieve back pain and fix spinal stenosis. This revolutionary treatment option prevents the need for major surgery or fusion for many patients suffering from lumbar spinal stenosis.
What Do InterSpinous Spacers Treat?
Vertiflex Superion® treats lumbar spinal stenosis. Lumbar spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lumbar spine, which is in the lower back.
Common symptoms patients with lumbar spinal stenosis are:
- Back pain
- Leaning forward, such as on a shopping cart, to alleviate pressure caused by compression of the spine
- Cannot stand or walk for long distances
- Have weakness, numbness, or tingling in their legs, often without pain
The most common cause of lumbar spinal stenosis is osteoarthritis, a disease which causes wear-and-tear damage to the joints.
How Does the Procedure Work?
During the minimally-invasive Vertiflex Superion procedure, the patient will lie on their stomach. Local or general anesthesia is used to prevent pain and discomfort for the patient. The surgeon will make a small incision in the lower back, allowing for the surgeon to carefully insert the device between the two affected vertebrae. The device is then opened by the surgeon, which pushes the two vertebrae apart, securing them in this position. The incision is then closed, and the incision site with a bandage.
By placing this small device between two vertebrae, the implant is able to prevent them from compressing together. This relieves pressures on the spinal cord and surrounding nerves, allowing for relief of pain.
The surgeon will close the incision, and the patient is monitored in a recovery room before being released. The patient will need someone else to drive them home following the procedure. Patients may experience initial discomfort, and most patients may return to their normal routine within 24 hours, however any activity that can strain the spine, such as lifting heavy objects, should be avoided for up to 6 weeks.
What are the Risks?
Although the complication rate for the Vertiflex procedures is low, all surgical procedures have risk of infection, and procedures that uses general or local anesthesia have risks of anesthetic complications. The Vertiflex procedure is considered to be low risk, however complications including the device becoming dislodged or move out of place. The Vertiflex procedure is a minimally-invasive procedure, which has substantially lower risk of complications, including infection, when compared to open surgery.
Benefits of InterSpinous Spacers
After the procedure, many patients experience instant relief. By preventing the cause of their pain directly, interspinous spacers are able to provide new life to patients suffering from lumbar spinal stenosis.
- 66% improvement in back pain
- 75% improvement in leg pain
- 85% opioid use reduction
- 90% satisfaction rate
For more information on the Vertiflex Superion procedure, visit Boston Scientific’s site at