Decompression Surgery is a spinal surgery in which the lamina (a part of the vertebrae) is removed to remove the pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves. This surgery is commonly called Laminectomy.
Laminectomy is used as a last resort when all non-surgical techniques do not relieve the pressure on the spinal canal. It may be done along with other spinal surgeries like discectomy, spinal fusion and formainotomy.
Decompression Surgery is indicated when
The lamina is putting pressure on spinal cord and spinal nerves causing severe back pain, weakness in the legs and difficulty in walking
Bowel movements are also affected.
Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal column) occurs due to age, injury, tumor or congenital defects.
Surgery is used as a last resort when all non-surgical techniques do not relieve the pressure on the spinal canal.
Your doctor will recommend
CT or MRI scan of the affected area.
Stopping any blood thinning or immunosuppressive medications.
Fasting for 8 to 10 hours prior to the surgery.
The surgery is performed by an experienced spine surgeon under general anesthesia. During surgery -
An incision is made on the back. The muscles and ligaments are retracted to expose the spine.
The lamina bone along with the spinous process is removed and any bone spurs or disc fragments causing trouble may also be removed. This is called as decompression.
The foramen of the vertebrae may also be widened and spinal fusion may also be done to make the spine more stable. The muscles and tissues are placed back and the incision is closed.
The procedure takes upto 3 hours.
A hospital stay for 1 to 2 may be required. There will be some pain in the back for which you will be given medications.
Activities that cause stress on the back must be avoided for a few weeks. The sutures/staples will be removed after about 2 weeks.
Physiotherapy will be recommended to avoid formation of blood clots in the legs and improving flexibility.
If laminectomy is performed along with any other procedure, then the recovery time may be upto 6 months.
Risk and Complications
The patient may have reaction to anesthetic medications, breathing problems, infection and excessive bleeding during the surgery.
The spinal nerve may be injured resulting in pain and numbness.
Decompression Surgery will relieve the symptoms but will not prevent spinal problems from occurring in future. The symptoms may re-appear after a few years.
If you have any additional questions, talk to our in-house doctors. Call 1800-1022-733 (toll free).
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