Lumber Decompression: A Surgical Procedure to Relieve Pressure on the Spinal Cord

Lumbar decompression is a surgical procedure performed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord caused by a herniated disc or other spinal condition. This procedure involves removing a portion of the bone or soft tissue that is compressing the spinal cord or nerve roots. Lumber decompression surgery is often used to treat chronic back pain and other symptoms that have not responded to conservative treatments such as physical therapy, medication, or epidural injections.

Indications for Lumber Decompression

Lumbar decompression surgery is typically recommended for patients with symptoms of spinal stenosis, a condition where the spinal canal narrows and compresses the spinal cord or nerve roots. Symptoms of spinal stenosis include:

  • Lower Back Pain
  • Leg Pain
  • Weakness, Numbness, or Tingling
  • Difficulty Walking. 

Other conditions that may require lumber decompression surgery include herniated discs, spinal tumors, and degenerative disc disease.

Preparation for Surgery

Before undergoing lumber decompression surgery, patients will need to undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation, including a physical exam, imaging tests, and blood work. Patients may also need to stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, before the surgery. In addition, patients will need to follow specific instructions regarding food and drink intake before the surgery.

The Procedure

Lumber decompression surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia. During the procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in the lower back and removes the portion of the bone or soft tissue that is compressing the spinal cord or nerve roots. In some cases, the surgeon may also remove a portion of the herniated disc or other spinal tissue. The incision is then closed using sutures or staples.

Recovery from Surgery

After lumber decompression surgery, patients will need to rest and limit physical activity for a period of time, typically several weeks. Patients will also need to attend physical therapy sessions to help regain strength and mobility in the affected area. Most patients experience a significant improvement in their symptoms following lumber decompression surgery, although full recovery may take several months.

Risks and Complications

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks and potential complications associated with lumber decompression surgery. Serious complications are rare, and the vast majority of patients experience a successful outcome following the surgery. Risks may include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Nerve or Spinal Cord Injury
  • Blood Clots
  • Adjacent Level Degeneration
  • Failed Back Syndrome
  • Recurrence of Herniated Disc