The MILD Procedure

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Dr. Tim Chowdhury MD
Dr. Tim Chowdhury MD
Dr. Tim Chowdhury MD

Do you experience pain or numbness in your lower back when standing upright?  Do you experience pain, numbness, or tingling in your legs or buttocks when you walk?  Is your discomfort relieved when you bend forward at the waist or sit down?

If you answered yes, then you could be suffering from Lumbar Spinal Stenosis (LSS), a progressive narrowing of the lower spinal canal, which is a common condition for those over the age of 50.

You see, your spine is the support system for your back and body.  It protects the spinal cord, the bundle of nerve tissues that run from your brain to your lower body.

The bony column that encloses the spinal cord is called the spinal canal, and it is made up of ligaments, bones, and discs.  In a healthy, open spinal canal, there is enough space between the spinal cord and the spinal canal for the nerves to pass through freely and exit the spinal canal without any restriction.

Due to natural wear and tear on the body as we age, there can be a number of factors that cause the narrowing of the spinal canal, including thickening of ligament tissue, overgrowth of bone (osteoarthritis), or bulging of the discs that create pressure on your spinal cord.  This narrowing of the spinal canal is called spinal stenosis, and when it occurs in the lower part of the spine, the condition is called lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), or in medical terminology, lumbar spine 2 ligamentum flavum hypertrophy with symptoms of low back pain and neurogenic claudication of the lower extremity.

More than 1.2 million patients are diagnosed nationwide each year.  The procedure is revolutionary in that up until very recently, with the exception of open back surgery, patients with spinal stenosis had no treatment options.  Most of the time, these patients are of senior age and are not ideal candidates for major surgery anyway.  But now there is a safe and efficient method of treatment available.

Center for Pain Management and Doctor Tim Chowdhury have been proud to pioneer the utilization of the Minimally Invasive Lumbar Decompression (MILD) procedure indicated for the patient with spinal stenosis.

The MILD is an FDA-approved procedure and is unique in that it bridges the gap of conservative therapy and back surgery.  It’s less invasive than back surgery and has a same-day outpatient procedure without any residual surgical complications.  Most procedures are done in less than an hour, and studies show it’s a safe, effective procedure that helps LSS patients stand longer and walk further with significantly less pain.

Here are some additional points about MILD to consider:

  • No general anesthesia required
  • No implants or stitches
  • Low complication risk
  • 53% pain reduction
  • Standing time increase from 8 to 56 minutes
  • Walking distance increase from 246 to 3,956 feet
  • Able to resume light activities within just a few days

The procedure is also less expensive, and it has shown an excellent outcome.  Patients have shown more than 80 percent of pain relief, and the patient is able to move about a lot better.

If your doctor determines you have LSS caused by excess ligament, then MILD is a quick outpatient procedure performed through a tiny incision (about the size of a baby aspirin), requiring no general anesthesia or stitches.

During the procedure, specialized tools are inserted through that incision to remove small pieces of bone and excess ligament that cause the narrowing of the canal.  Some doctors have described treating LSS as being similar to “removing a kink in a drinking straw.”

An imaging machine is used to help guide your physician through the procedure.  Restoration of space in the spinal canal decreases the compression of the nerves, which in turn reduces pain and restores mobility.

Dr. Tim S. Chowdhury received his M.B.B.S. from Rajshahi Medical College in Rajshahi, Bangladesh, in 1975, and then moved to the United States in 1976, where he completed additional training at Boston University and Harvard Medical School.  In addition, Dr. Chowdhury completed one year of general surgery training at Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio.  His achievements included serving as Assistant Professor of Anesthesia at Boston City Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts; Attending Staff Physician at St. Paul Medical Center in Dallas; and Medical Director and Chief of Anesthesia at Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco. His professional affiliations include: Board Certification of the American Academy of Pain Management, Fellow in the American Academy of Disability Evaluating Physicians, and Associate Member of the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.