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When there are signs of pressure building on the spinal nerves, surgery may be required, sometimes right away. The signs physicians watch for when reaching this decision include weakening in the leg muscles, pain that will not ease and problems with the bowels or bladder. Pressure on the spinal nerves can cause a loss of control in the bowels or bladder. This condition is an emergency. If the pressure is not relieved, it can lead to permanent paralysis of the bowels and bladder. Surgery is recommended to remove pressure from the nerves.
The main surgical procedure used to treat spinal stenosis is lumbar laminectomy. Some patients also require fusion surgery immediately after the laminectomy procedure if spinal instability is present.