The role of oxidative stress in ligamentum flavum (LF) hypertrophy has not been elucidated. We hypothesize that oxidative stress induces inflammatory responses and the subsequent fibrotic processes in LF, via activation of the Akt and MAPK pathways. Specimens of LFs were collected during surgeries for lumbar disc herniation (LDH) or lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS). Part of the LF specimens underwent analyses for ROS, fibrotic markers, and inflammatory mediators, with the remainder minced for cell cultures. The cell cultures were treated with H2O2, after which the cells were lysed and analyzed via western blotting. The specimens of the LSS patients showed increased infiltration of inflammatory cells and were stained positively for MMP-3, MMP-9, vimentin, and fibronectin. The LF of the LSS patients had increased oxidative stress and inflammation compared to that of the LDH patients. In vitro analyses demonstrated that oxidative stress rapidly activated the Akt and MAPK pathways. Inflammatory mediators, iNOS and NF-κB, and fibrotic markers, including TGF-β, β-catenin, α-SMA and vimentin, were significantly upregulated after induction of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress activated the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. These findings revealed that oxidative stress is one of the etiological factors of LF hypertrophy, which might provide new insights into treatment approaches.