Decompression surgery can reduce back or leg pain and improve walking ability if other treatments don’t work, or if you’re experiencing problems with bowel or bladder control. Decompression may be performed anywhere along the spine. It provides more room for the nerves and spinal cord while allowing doctors to remove bone spurs. It is used to treat:
Whenever possible, our doctors can perform decompression as a minimally invasive spine surgery.
Types of Decompression Surgery
There are several types of decompression surgeries we use, depending on your specific condition:
- Laminectomy: Removes an entire lamina, the vertebral section that faces your back and forms the outer rim of the spinal canal, the “tunnel” that protects the spinal cord. The procedure also shaves down the (facet) joints between the problematic vertebrae and removes ligaments interfering with the spinal cord and nerves.
- Laminotomy: Removes a smaller portion of the lamina and ligaments, usually on one side.
- Laminaplasty: Cuts a pair of cervical laminae on one side, then hinges them open slightly.
- Foraminotomy: Removes some of the vertebral bone around neural foramina, the tunnels where the spinal nerves branch off from the spinal cord.
- Microdiscectomy: Removes a small portion of a herniated disc and/or some of the vertebral bone to restore space needed for spinal nerve roots. We always perform microdiscectomy as minimally invasive spine surgery — instead of a back incision, our surgeons insert thin tubes to reach herniated discs with their tools.
Our surgeons might recommend performing more than one type of decompression during your surgery.
Decompression Surgery: What to Expect
Decompression surgery is a technique that creates more room in the spinal canal to relieve pain and pressure caused by pinched nerves While there are several types of decompression surgery, but most share basic steps:
- You are put to sleep with general anesthesia.
- Your surgeon carefully makes an incision just over the targeted vertebra or vertebrae and moves your back muscles aside.
- X-rays take pictures of the exposed bone to confirm the problem.
- Your surgeon removes the small portion of bone causing pressure and pain, preserving as much spinal material as possible.
We may also recommend spinal fusion surgery to help stabilize the treated area, prevent additional problems and reduce pain.
For more information or for a physician referral, please call (813) 644-4322.