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Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal or its lateral recesses as a result of encroachment by surrounding bone and soft tissue (1).
Compression most commonly occurs in the lumbar portion of the spine.
- a combination of cervical and lumbar stenosis can be seen occasionally while lumbar stenosis together with thoracic stenosis is seen rarely (2)
Exact incidence of spinal stenosis is unknown since in some patients it may be asymptomatic or cause minor symptoms.
- in 2007, Medicare reported that more than 37,000 laminectomies for spinal stenosis were performed with the cost of these procedures nearing $1.65bn (£1.1bn; €1.55bn) (3)
- National ambulatory medical care survey and the National Spine Network data indicate that between 3-14% of patients with low back problems who see a specialist and 3-4% who see a general physician may have spinal stenosis
- according to the Framingham population study, evidence of anatomical spinal stenosis were observed (on cross sectional imaging) in 19-47% of Americans over age 60 (1,2)
Last reviewed 01/2018