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Thirty-four patients who had central stenosis of the lumbar spine were treated with wide fenestration, a procedure in which only the medial parts of the inferior facets and the adjoining ligamentum flavum were removed. The patients were followed for an average of five and one-half years (range, four and one-half years to seven years and ten months). Wide fenestration successfully relieved the symptoms. The new bone that was laid down in the operatively treated segments did not reproduce the symptoms of spinal stenosis; instead, it appeared to stabilize those segments.