Overview of compressed nerve surgery

Compressed nerve surgery is used to free a constricted spinal nerve and relieve the associated pain, tingling, numbness, muscle weakness and other symptoms that can make life so challenging for those affected. A compressed spinal nerve can be due to a number of causes, from a degenerative spinal disc to a bone spur caused by arthritis in the spine. Patients are often able to find lasting relief and a return to a good quality of life through conservative treatments like physical therapy and medication, with spine surgery typically seen as a last resort.

If it does become a serious consideration, there are now two general approaches to spine surgery — traditional open procedures and minimally invasive procedures. Even though the primary goal is the same, there are critical differences between the two approaches. If you are suffering from chronic and debilitating pain from a compressed nerve, understanding the full range of surgical options is an important first step to getting back to a healthy and active lifestyle.

Minimally invasive versus traditional compressed nerve surgery

During traditional open spine surgery, the surgeon uses a large incision to access the area of the spine where the nerve compression is occurring. Muscle, tendons and ligaments are cut and the portion of the spinal anatomy putting pressure on the nerve is removed.

Sometimes a spinal disc is so damaged that full removal and a stabilizing vertebral fusion is required. In this case, bone graft material and metal implants are inserted to fuse a vertebral segment, improving stability and reducing the chance for nerve compression in that area of the spine. The drawbacks of this kind of surgery include up to a 19 percent infection rate, a hospital stay of two to five nights and a long, sometimes difficult, recovery period.

In comparison, minimally invasive compressed nerve surgery offers the following advantages:

  • A smaller incision, sometimes less than 1 inch in length
  • Can be performed as an outpatient procedure
  • A faster recovery period^
  • Reduced risk of complications like infection and failed back surgery syndrome

When to seek surgical help

If you are concerned about the risks and difficulties that come with traditional open back surgery and are considering a minimally invasive compressed nerve surgery, reach out to Laser Spine Institute.

As the leaders in minimally invasive surgery, Laser Spine Institute has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from neck or back pain in outpatient centers across the United States. Our highly skilled surgeons perform both minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures to treat compressed nerves at the source.

You can learn if you’re a potential candidate for our procedures by requesting a no-cost MRI review* — contact our team today.