Superion® Indirect Decompression System (IDS)

Millions of Americans are affected by chronic back and leg pain every year, often resulting in loss of mobility, lost work, and warranted frustrations. Unfortunately, open back surgery is not feasible for many of these individuals, especially since it can lead to complications such as surgical scars, post-surgical pain, and a lengthy recovery time that requires weeks away from work. Fortunately, there is new a treatment option that provides patients with the possibility of a completely pain-free lifestyle.

Introducing The Superion ® Indirect Decompression System (IDS)

The FDA recently approved a new treatment option for moderate lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), and it's called the Superion ® Indirect Decompression System (IDS). This minimally invasive procedure is safe and effective for patients suffering from back and leg pain caused by moderate lumbar stenosis. Moreover, this treatment is often recommended for patients who have not experienced pain relief from conservative therapy but still require a treatment that is considered a step below invasive surgery. 

If you're interested in undergoing this procedure,  you can look no further than Southwest Spine and Pain Center to perform the minimally invasive surgery. Why? Well, for starters, the board certified pain management specialists at Southwest Spine and Pain Center are the first and only physicians to be trained in this therapy. That's right! At the moment, there is no other practice in the state of Utah that performs this procedure. 

Causes & Symptoms of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

If you're not familiar with lumbar spinal stenosis, allow us to bring you up to speed: this condition is often the result of aging and “wear and tear” on the spine from everyday activities. Lumbar spinal stenosis, in short, is a narrowing of the spinal canal that typically causes pain, numbness, tingling and/or weakness in the back and legs. Furthermore, this condition is usually more noticeable when you walk and pain symptoms can lessen when you sit or bend forward. If you suffer from the following symptoms, consider getting checked out for lumbar spinal stenosis:

  • a dull or aching pain spreading to your groin, buttocks or legs
  • a numbness or "pins and needles" in your legs, calves, or buttocks
  • a decreased endurance for physical activities
  • loss of balance
  • sciatic pain

Our pain and spine care specialists can administer a physical examination and use radiology tests, like MRIs or x-rays, to diagnose LSS and rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms.

Treatment Options for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Typically, a Southwest Spine and Pain Center physician will recommend conservative, non-surgical treatments to minimize pain before performing minimally invasive procedures. These treatments usually include:

  • Epidural steroid injections to decrease swelling and pain
  • Rest and reduced activity
  • Physical therapy and exercise
  • Prescription pain medications 

If these non-surgical treatment options do not provide adequate pain relief, you may require aggressive treatment, such as spinal surgery. Historically, the surgical options for lumbar spinal stenosis were as follows:

  • Direct decompression surgery to remove the bone and other tissue around the nerves causing pain. This surgery helps relieve pressure on your spinal cord and nerves.
  • Decompression surgery with spinal fusion is performed to remove bone and tissue. Then a bone graft is placed between the bones (usually vertebrae) in the area of the decompression surgery. The bone graft helps new bone grow between the two bones to help them “fuse” together. This should stop motion in that portion of the spine. Screws and rods may be used to hold the bones in place.

How Is The Superion ® Indirect Decompression System (IDS) Performed?

If you have moderate LSS with radiating leg pain and have been treated with non-surgical options for at least 6 months with no relief from your symptoms, the Superion IDS may be a favorable treatment option for you. Unlike direct decompression or fusion surgery, the Superion IDS uses a small titanium device that is available in different sizes to best match your spinal anatomy. 

During the procedure, a Southwest Spine and Pain Center physician makes a small incision in the lower back to make room for the implant. The Superion implant is then delivered to the damaged spinal disc with no destruction the nearby bone or tissue, resulting in minimal bleeding. This simple procedure can be completed in under one hour and can be done in either the operating room at the hospital or at an outpatient surgical center.

The Superion implant allows patients to stand upright without pinching the nerves in the back. Furthermore, this procedure ensures you do not need to bend forward to relieve your pain. If you're skeptical about the procedure, don't be. The Superion IDS went through a rigorous clinical trial and has been implanted in more than 2,000 patients worldwide. The clinical trial results demonstrated an improvement in leg pain compared to more traditional—and invasive—treatment options. Four years after patients underwent this procedure, almost 90% of them expressed continuing satisfaction.

This new treatment for LSS offers a minimally invasive approach to treating moderate lumbar stenosis, which means hope for relief of ongoing pain without the long recovery that often accompanies traditional decompression surgery. If you've been down the treatment road already and want real, long-lasting relief, talk to your Southwest Spine and Pain Center physician about the Superion Indirect Decompression System.


If you have lumbar spinal stenosis and would like to see if you are a candidate for this procedure, please contact Southwest Spine and Pain Center to schedule a consultation with one of our board certified spine and pain specialists that have been trained in the Vertiflex procedure. Southwest Spine and Pain has the only physicians trained in this procedure in Utah.

For additional information on the Superion Indirect Decompression System, call the Vertiflex ® information hotline at (866) 268-6486 or click here.

Derek Frieden M.D