What is decompression surgery?
Decompression surgery is a procedure that aims to alleviate various pains caused by neural impingements. During the procedure bone that covers the spinal cord and nerves is removed in order to create greater space for movement of the nerves. There are a number of pains that are a result of pinched nerves including numbness, muscle weakness and pain in the arms and legs and spinal stenosis. Alternate treatments such as physical therapy or medication are recommended before decompression procedures are considered.
What can I expect during surgery?
There are a number of different spinal decompression surgery procedures. Your surgeon will choose the option that best suits your condition. For these surgeries, an incision will be made anywhere between the cervical (neck) to the lumbar area (lower back), depending where the neural impingement is located. The bones and soft tissue surrounding the spinal cord will be removed to provide more room for the nerves. Bone spurs, and in some cases one or more vertebrae, may also need to be removed. Decompression with fusion is performed at times to stabilise areas of the spine that have been operated on. This includes using bone grafts and screws to piece together vertebrae to form one new bone. This spinal fusion procedure is done to prevent reoccurrence of pain in weak spines. Your surgeon will determine whether decompression without fusion will suffice or whether you require further procedures.