Superion® Indirect Decompression System and the SpineJack® System

Using the Superion® indirect decompression system and the SpineJack® system, surgeons at the Spine and Pain Center at The George Washington University Hospital can provide immediate relief to patients with lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) and osteoporotic vertebral compression fracture (VCF).

Superion for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Patients with LSS have a narrowing of the spinal canal that causes nerve compression, a condition that often causes people to lean forward when walking or sitting down to relieve the pressure. While traditional surgeries for LSS involve the removal of a degenerative disk or the creation of a surgical opening in the bone, the VertiFlex® procedure allows the surgeon to insert the Superion device into the spine. A spinal spacer made of titanium, the Superion implant opens up the compressed space, relieving pressure on the spinal canal.

“For degenerative spinal stenosis, the results of this device are better than surgical outcomes,” says Wayne J. Olan, MD, Director, Minimally Invasive and Endovascular Neurosurgery, and Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Radiology at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

The Superion device is appropriate for patients with the following indications:

  • A diagnosis of moderate lumbar spinal stenosis causing pain and/or numbness in the legs
  • Evidence, confirmed by X-ray, MRI or CT, of thickened ligamentum flavum, narrowed lateral recess, and/or central canal narrowing
  • At least six months of non-surgical treatment

The device is inserted into adjacent spinous processes of the lumbar spine with a cannula, restricting the extension of the spinal segment. A major advantage of the Superion device is that it’s percutaneous, requiring no stitches and virtually no recovery time. It’s easily removable, allowing patients the option for future surgery.

“For the most part, it’s been phenomenally successful,” Dr. Olan says. “The key is choosing the right patients and not putting the device in someone whose pain is being caused by a different issue.” 

SpineJack for Osteoporotic Vertebral Compression Fracture

For patients with vertebral compression fractures, the SpineJack system, created by Stryker®, has had equally successful outcomes. Surgeons use image guidance, inserted through a tiny incision in the back, to place two expandable implants (“jacks”) in the vertebrae. The jacks are then expanded in a craniocaudal direction, reducing the fracture and allowing the vertebrae to return to their original position, which is then stabilized with an injection of bone cement.

“Most other surgeries for VCF left the fracture in its deformed fractured state, even though it was fixated with cement. This is the first procedure that reliably and predictably reduces the fracture prior to fixating it,” says Dr. Olan. “The data strongly suggests that this minimizes the risk of further fractures down the road.”

The SpineJack system is done on an outpatient basis, with patients typically able to go home within an hour of the procedure with no restrictions on activities.

Breaking Through Barriers in Spine Treatment

Surgeons at the Spine and Pain Center at GW Hospital were the first in the U.S. to perform the SpineJack procedure, and they are leading the way in the mid-Atlantic region when it comes to the VertiFlex Superion procedure. Specialists treat many other spinal conditions as well, with many nonsurgical options and minimally invasive surgical procedures, helping patients with acute and chronic pain improve function and mobility and live pain-free.

Podcast – Degenerative Spine Conditions and Treatments

Listen to Dr. Wayne Olan's podcast to learn more.

Refer a Patient

To refer a patient, please call 1-888-4GW-DOCS. If you have a question for our specialists, please email

Individual results may vary. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if minimally invasive surgery is right for you.