Understanding Lumbar Decompression Surgery

When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis ten years ago, I struggled to come to terms with the diagnosis and what it meant for my future. I started this blog to connect with and encourage others living with this condition. I share my personal journey and blog about the lifestyle changes I have made and alternative treatments I have tried over the years, including herbal medicine, acupuncture and homeopathy. You'll also find posts about new treatments that are becoming available and products, such as mobility aids and adapted kitchen utensils, I've tried. I hope you enjoy my blog and find it useful.

Understanding Lumbar Decompression Surgery

Understanding Lumbar Decompression Surgery

14 December 2020
 Categories:
, Blog


Lumbar decompression surgery is carried out by a neurosurgeon and is used to resolve compressed nerves in the lumbar spine, which is the lower section of your spine. This is a highly specialised surgical procedure and is recommended when more conservative treatment options have not improved troublesome symptoms, such as numbness in the limbs and persistent pain. Here's an overview of common conditions treated with this type of spine surgery and what happens during the procedure.

Conditions Treated

Lumbar decompression surgery can be used to treat spinal stenosis, which is a chronic condition characterised by narrowing of the spinal column. It can also be used to treat a slipped disc that's causing significant pain and to resolve tissue swelling caused by a spinal injury, such as a fracture. Additionally, if you have cancerous cell growth along the spine, localised inflammation can cause the spinal cord to become compressed, and lumbar decompression surgery can be used to treat inflammation and pain.

The Surgical Procedure

As lumbar compression surgery is carried out through an incision in your lower back, you will receive a general anaesthetic and be placed face down on a curved surgical bed that will allow your surgeon to have easy access to your spine without putting too much pressure on your abdomen and chest. The size of the incision in your back will vary depending on the complexity of the surgery and whether more than one vertebra or disc is affected. There are a few different procedures that can be carried out during lumbar decompression surgery, and the specific procedure you undergo will depend on the underlying reason you are having the surgery.

The main procedures used are laminectomy, discectomy and spinal fusion. Laminectomy involves removing a section of vertebral bone to take pressure off a compressed never. Discectomy involves removing a portion of a bulging or prolapsed disc. Only the portion causing compression is removed, as the disc acts as a shock absorber between the vertebrae and is required to prevent bone friction causing pain. Spinal fusion involves using a bone graft to bind two vertebrae together, which can limit movement of the surrounding vertebrae and prevent nearby nerves becoming compressed again after surgery. The bone for the bone graft can be taken from your hip or synthetic bone can be used.   

You will spend at least a few days in hospital after lumbar decompression surgery, and you will have regular follow-up appoints with your neurologist to ensure your spine has healed well and the surgery has been successful.

If your doctor thinks you're a candidate for lumbar decompression surgery, they will discuss the risks and benefits with you in detail. Before committing to having surgery, ensure you have asked any questions you have and discuss your concerns with your surgeon.

About Me
Living With Multiple Sclerosis

When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis ten years ago, I struggled to come to terms with the diagnosis and what it meant for my future. I started this blog to connect with and encourage others living with this condition. I share my personal journey and blog about the lifestyle changes I have made and alternative treatments I have tried over the years, including herbal medicine, acupuncture and homeopathy. You'll also find posts about new treatments that are becoming available and products, such as mobility aids and adapted kitchen utensils, I've tried. I hope you enjoy my blog and find it useful.

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