What Is Spinal Decompression?
Spinal decompression is a procedure performed to alleviate the pain often caused by a pinched nerve or herniated disc in your lower back.
Why Is It Done?
If you suffer from spinal stenosis, a herniated disc, or other spine issues, surgery may be warranted under these circumstances:
Your pain has been consistent for several weeks or months.
Conservative treatment has not helped.
You're having trouble standing or walking.
How to Prepare
As with any surgery, you will meet with your doctor and discuss any concerns you have. Be sure to bring a list of questions with you, and tell your doctor about any medications you are taking. You may need to temporarily stop taking certain ones. You'll be given pre-operative instructions, including how long you should fast before the procedure.
What to Expect
A main type of decompression surgery is the microdiscectomy. You will likely be under general anesthesia for this procedure. Your surgeon makes tiny incisions in the skin of your spine. Then the surgeon cuts away some of the vertebrae, as a way to access the nerve roots or the problematic disc. Next, the surgeon will relieve pressure on the nerve root by removing the herniated part of the disc or disc fragments. Then the incision will be closed with staples or stiches. Learn more about BayCare's Spine Care Centers.
After the surgery, you may need to stay in the hospital overnight, or you may go home the same day. You will need to stay home and allow yourself to heal, refraining from many physical activities. Most people can expect a full recovery in two to six weeks.