What is a MILD procedure and how does it work?

A minimally invasive lumbar decompression (MILD) procedure, is a procedure to treat symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis. It is performed on an outpatient basis and only a small incision is made to perform the MILD procedure. This procedure is an alternative to more invasive surgeries such as a lumbar laminectomy or fusion. During a MILD procedure, your doctor will use instruments inserted through a small scope to remove pieces of the ligament overlying the spinal cord and nerves, creating more space in the spine for the nerves.

What does a MILD procedure treat?

MILD treats symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis due to thickening of the ligamentum flavum, a structure that runs down the back of the spine. When this ligament becomes thicker, it can place pressure on the nerves of the spine. This can lead to symptoms such as pain in the legs when walking long distances, numbness/tingling in the lower extremities, and an inability to walk for prolonged periods before needing to stop for a rest. By removing pieces of the overgrown ligament, more space is created in the spinal canal for the nerves leading to improved symptoms.

What to Expect from the MILD procedure

Your doctor will make a small (approximately 1 cm) incision to perform the procedure. There are no implants or hardware placed during the procedure, and the incision typically heals within a few weeks. You will have minimal restrictions following the procedure. There is no need for extensive recovery and rehabilitation following the MILD procedure. The results from this procedure are usually noticed within a few weeks and are long-lasting.

Risks of The MILD procedure

MILD is considered to be as safe as an epidural steroid injection. Risks include bleeding, infection, and very low risk of nerve damage. The most common side-effect of MILD is post-procedural soreness that generally resolves over several days with ice packs and over the counter medications.

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The MILD Procedure Process

1

Schedule An Appointment

Get in touch through our contact form or by phone to schedule an appointment with our specialists at one of our locations in Austin, Kyle, Dripping Springs or San Marcos.

2

Initial Evaluation

Our doctors use this initial evaluation to learn more about your chronic pain and any previous treatments you may have tried. During this appointment, we will determine if the MILD procedure is right for you.

3

SI Fusion Procedure

The MILD procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and generally takes less than an hour. Most patients can undergo the procedure with little to no anesthesia.

4

Recovery

Most patients are able to return to light or normal activity within 24-48 hours of the procedure and will see improved functionality over time.

Testimonials

"Dr. Jarzembeck is AMAZING. I HIGHLY recommend her for anyone suffering in pain. She goes above and beyond to make sure her patients pain has been dealt with."

Genia G.

"Everyone is so friendly and helpful, Dr. Bednar came to me and explained the procedure and answered my questions. Highly recommend!"

Maggie G.

"Dr. Julia is the best! The staff is professional and friendly to all. Best of all, Dr. Julia is finding solutions for my chronic pain! Never thought that it would be possible. It's a journey for me, but it seems like there is a solution."

Nancy M.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the MILD procedure covered by insurance?

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Yes, it is approved by Medicare, Medicare replacement plans and many commercial insurance companies.

How long does the MILD procedure take?

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The procedure is often completed in less than 1 hour.

How long will the benefits last?

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The effects are known to be long-lasting. The hope is that patients see relief for at least a year after the procedure and are able to achieve a higher quality of life.

How long is the recovery time?

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Depending on the degree of stenosis, most patients can return to light or normal activity within 24-48 hours of the procedure and will see improved functionality over time.

Do I need general anesthesia when undergoing the MILD procedure?

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No, most patients can undergo this procedure with little to no anesthesia.

Lunch & Learn With Our Doctors

Curious about Spinal Cord and Peripheral Nerve Stimulation? Join our doctors for an in-person lunch and learn session to find out more about these treatments and ask any questions you may have. This event will be 12–1pm, sign up below to receive more details and RSVP.

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Find Relief From Pain With A MILD Procedure

If you suffer from pain or fatigue in your legs, schedule an appointment with Greater Austin Pain Center to see if a MILD procedure is right for you. With locations in Austin, Kyle, Dripping Springs, and San Marcos, our pain management doctors are ready and eager to help find a solution for your pain.

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