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Spinal Spacers in Gilbert, AZ

How does spinal spacer implantation work?

Spinal spacers serve as a surgical “upgrade” from traditional “cages,” spacers, or grafts.

Sufferers of spinal stenosis often experience numbness, tingling, and pain. This is often the result of age and disk degeneration but can also be caused by injury, herniated disks, or tumors. Left untreated, stenosis in some extreme cases can result in incontinence.

Those with moderate spinal stenosis who cannot find pain relief from other conservative treatment options after six months are candidates for a Superion® Implant. Those whose symptoms are relieved by bending or leaning forward are also candidates for this implant. Vertebral spacers prevent the overextension of the spine in a backward direction, protecting the spine and helping to prevent further injury.

The Superion ® InterSpinous Spacer (ISS) is one specific type of spacer that possesses the lowest fail rates compared to other spinal spacers on the market. This FDA-approved indirect decompression device is composed of titanium and comes in several sizes to best match a patient’s spinal anatomy. The Vertiflex procedure is a minimally invasive, outpatient medical procedure in which a healthcare professional inserts the Superion® Implant between the spinous processes in your vertebrae. The spinous processes are thin, bony projections located on the back of your spine. The Vertiflex procedure is reversible, if needed, and leaves little to no scar tissue in or on the spinal cord.

Conditions treated

  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Neurogenic claudication: pain in legs caused by lumbar spinal stenosis

Benefits and advantages of spinal spacer implantation

  • Less invasive option with a shorter recovery time
  • Lower risk procedure than traditional back surgery
  • Reduced pain caused by lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Improved back functionality and mobility
  • Creates more space in the spinal cord without removing any bones and with limited trauma to surrounding muscles and ligaments
  • A reduction in collapse rates as opposed to bone grafts


The Superion ® InterSpinous Spacer provides a lower risk than other traditional surgical options, but, as with any surgical procedure, the risk for complication still exists. Possible risks include:

  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia
  • Bones may settle around the spacer. This is common among those living with osteoporosis. Your doctor will discuss ways to reduce this risk for those with osteoporosis undergoing the Vertiflex procedure.
  • Infection, bruising, and bleeding at the incision site
  • Fracture in the spinous process when the Superion ® InterSpinous Spacer is inserted

Spinal spacer implantation has a medical complication rate of just 1.2 percent, compared with 1.8 percent for more traditional decompression procedures and 3.3 percent in fusion surgeries.

Spinal Spacer Procedure

Before applying spinal spacers Gilbert pain doctors at The Pain Experts of Arizona may ask you to stop taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), immunosuppressant medication, and blood thinners to reduce your risk of serious complications or infections. If you are pregnant or suspect you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about alternative treatment options. Your healthcare professional may ask you not to eat or drink several hours before the procedure. This procedure cannot be performed if the patient has an active infection or symptoms of a cold, flu, or similar malady. If you experience these symptoms on the day of the procedure, you will need to reschedule your implant.

When you arrive for your procedure, you will lie face down on a table. Your healthcare professional inserting the interspinous spacer will apply local anesthesia and numbing solution to your back. You may receive general anesthesia via an IV, depending on your pain tolerance and comfort levels. During the procedure, the healthcare professional will make a small incision in your lower back before injecting the Superion ® Implant between the spinous processes of your vertebrae. The medical professional may insert the implant directly through the incision or through small tubes called cannulas. A continuous x-ray will guide the healthcare professional during the procedure to ensure accurate placing.

The Vertiflex procedure lasts approximately thirty minutes but may last longer depending on how many implants are needed. If your spinal stenosis affects more than one vertebrae, you may need an interspinous spacer in each affected vertebrae. The more implants you need, the longer the procedure lasts. Once your medical practitioner completes the implantation, you will remain in an observation room to ensure no immediate allergic reactions or other complications arise.

Spinal Spacer Recovery

Once you leave the observation room, you will need someone to drive you home. Your doctor will provide you with information on how to care for your surgical site and physical activity restrictions. You will need to rest for several days following the procedure and keep the incision site clean and dry until your first follow-up appointment. You will not be permitted to participate in any strenuous activity for up to six weeks after surgery, but your doctor will provide you with more specific instructions.

After the Vertiflex procedure, you may feel an increase in pain or soreness in your lower back near the incision site. This common side effect of the implantation should dissipate within two to three days. If the pain becomes too bothersome, you can take over-the-counter pain medication or use an ice pack on the affected area.

An overwhelming majority of patients undergoing the Vertiflex procedure enjoy long-term back and leg pain relief.


Spinal spacer implantation is often (but not always) covered by medical insurance. Your doctor and medical staff will help you determine your eligibility for insurance benefits.

Schedule your Arizona Spinal Spacer consultation with The Pain Experts of Arizona

Reclaim your quality of life and get back to doing the things you love. The Pain Experts of Arizona primarily serve patients in Gilbert, Chandler, and the greater Phoenix area. Schedule a consultation today. We want to help you become pain-free and stay that way!

The Pain Experts of Arizona was founded to bring the highest level of care in a state-of-the-art setting that emphasizes the belief of treating our patients with the same respect, compassion, and dedication we would treat our own friends and family.

Contact our office to schedule an appointment and let us help you get back on your way to an active life without the limitations of chronic pain. From our Phoenix office, The Pain Experts of Arizona, serves pain management patients in Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Queen Creek, and the entire Phoenix area.