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Lumbar Decompression

Lumbar decompression involves surgery to relieve pressure on nerves of spine.

Lumbar Decompression Surgery
Lumbar Decompression Surgery

Lumbar Decompression Surgery

What is Spinal Decompression Surgery?

Spinal decompression is a type of surgery to relieve symptoms caused by pressure on the spinal cord and/or the nerves branching off from it. Pressure (compression) on the nerves or spinal cord can be the result of several factors including:

  • Bulging or herniated discs
  • Bony growths
  • Loosened ligaments.

Symptoms of Spinal Nerve Compression in the Low Back Include:

  • Pain in the low back, as well as in the buttocks and down the leg
  • Numbness or tingling in the buttocks, leg and foot
  • Weakness

Severe cases of nerve compression in the low back (lumbar region) can cause paralysis and problems with bladder and/or bowel function.

How is Spinal Decompression Surgery Performed?

There are several surgical procedures that can be performed to remove the pressure (i.e., decompress) on a nerve or spinal cord. Surgeons often utilize more than one of these techniques. If the spine is unstable, spinal fusion may be required in addition to decompression.

Discectomy: A portion of a disc that has herniated is removed to relieve pressure on the nearby nerves.

Laminotomy/laminectomy: These procedures which increase the size of the spinal canal are very similar. A piece of bone (called the lamina) around the spinal canal is either partially or totally removed.

Foraminotomy/foraminectomy: These procedures are very similar; they increase the amount of space around nerves as they branch off the spinal cord. A piece of bone and other tissues are removed to provide this space.

Osteophyte removal: This procedure involves removing bony spurs (osteophytes).

Corpectomy: This is a procedure to remove a large portion of a vertebra.