Who needs spinal decompression surgery?

Lumbar decompression surgery is a type of surgery used to treat compressed nerves in the lower part of the spine (lumbar). It's only recommended when non-surgical treatments haven't helped. Surgery aims to improve symptoms, such as persistent pain and numbness in the legs caused by pressure on the nerves in the spine. Spinal decompression surgery is done to relieve low back pain or other symptoms caused by compression of the spinal cord or spinal nerves.

Back surgery may be an option if conservative treatments haven't worked and the pain is persistent and disabling. Back surgery often more predictably relieves associated pain or numbness that descends down one or both arms or legs. Spinal stenosis occurs when the space within the spinal canal or around the nerve roots narrows. As soon as you know you are going to undergo lumbar decompression surgery, it is advisable to stop smoking (if you smoke), eat a healthy and balanced diet, and exercise regularly.

Recovery after lumbar decompression surgery will depend on your physical condition and your activity level before surgery. The main symptoms of spinal stenosis are pain, numbness, weakness, and a tingling sensation in one or both legs. A laminectomy is a decompression surgery in which small sections of the bone arches of the spinal canal, also known as a lamina, are removed. The British Association of Spinal Surgeons (BASS) estimates that there are about one death for every 350 operations performed to treat spinal stenosis and one death for every 700 operations performed to treat a herniated disc.

About 1 in 20 to 100 people who have lumbar decompression surgery will develop new numbness or weakness in one or both legs as a result of the operation. If you and your consultant decide that you could benefit from lumbar decompression surgery, you will be placed on the waiting list. During lumbar decompression surgery, there is a risk of accidental damage to the nerve lining, which can lead to loss of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The risk of death is higher for spinal stenosis, because most people with this condition tend to be older and have poorer health than people with a herniated disc.

Cancer in one part of the body, such as the lungs, sometimes spreads to the spine and puts pressure on the spinal cord. During lumbar decompression surgery, you'll usually lie on your stomach on a special curved mattress so that the surgeon can better access the affected part of your spine and reduce pressure on your chest, abdomen, and pelvis. Conditions such as bulging, herniated discs, bone spurs, or spondylolisthesis cause narrowing of the spinal canal and the openings through which nerves exit the canal. A small opening in the lamina above and below the spinal nerve may be sufficient to relieve compression (Fig.

The spine provides a nerve pathway that runs through the middle of these bones, ligaments and discs. The surgeon can gently retract the protective sac of the spinal cord and nerve root to remove bone spurs and thickened ligament.