Spinal decompression surgery

Spinal decompression surgery is a procedure that patients consider when they have been experiencing the painful symptoms of a pinched nerve in the neck or back and conservative options have not brought relief. The goal of this type of procedure is to access the spine and remove spinal anatomy that is putting pressure on the spinal cord or an exiting nerve root.

The decision to undergo spinal decompression surgery is an important one and should only be seriously considered when more conservative treatments — such as medication, physical therapy or epidural steroid injections — have been exhausted. Learning about the conditions this type of surgery can treat and the different ways it can be performed can help you make a more confident decision with a better chance of returning to normal activity.

The development of spinal nerve compression

The spine is a common source of conditions that cause nerve compression because it must support the weight of the upper body while remaining flexible enough for basic movement. The pressure that must be endured by the moving parts of the spine, such as the joints and discs, can cause them to wear out with age and injury.

Because the spine also protects the spinal cord as it travels from the base of the skull and branches out to the body, displaced spinal anatomy can put pressure on these nerves. Spine conditions that cause nerve compression like this include:

  • Herniated discs
  • Bulging discs
  • Bone spurs
  • Spondylolisthesis

Compressed spinal nerves cause symptoms like pain, tingling, numbness or weakness that can be either localized or travel along the nerve pathways. Spinal decompression surgery is usually seen as a last-resort treatment option for these symptoms due to the highly invasive nature of traditional procedures and the effectiveness of conservative treatments for many patients.

What does spinal decompression surgery involve?

With a traditional open spine decompression procedure a surgeon is required to make a large incision to access the spine and remove the tissue putting pressure on nerves. A large incision can disrupt muscles and connective tissue around the spine and lead to significant blood loss. Patients can expect overnight hospitalization and a long, potentially painful, recovery period after a traditional open neck or back procedure of this kind.

Minimally invasive spine surgery

If you’re considering spinal decompression surgery but have concerns about the risks and difficulties involved with a traditional procedure, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about minimally invasive spine surgery. Our board-certified surgeons+ use a less than 1-inch incision and other muscle-sparing techniques to access the spine and decompress nerves. This allows our procedures to be performed on an outpatient basis while offering less risk of complication and a shorter recovery time^ compared to traditional open spine surgery.

To find out if you’re a potential candidate for minimally invasive spinal decompression surgery at Laser Spine Institute, reach out to us today for a no-cost MRI review.*