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Spinal decompression is a surgical procedure done to relieve pain and associated symptoms caused by pressure or compression on the spinal cord and/or nerves.


Symptoms of spinal nerve decompression include

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Tingling


The pressure on the spinal cord/nerve roots may be induced due to impaction of the bone or disc material. Some of these conditions include

  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Tumors of the spine

Your spinal surgeon may recommend different procedures depending upon the pathological and neurological condition, degree of spine alteration and your medical history.

Extensively used spinal decompression procedures include minimally invasive lumbar discectomy, lumbar laminectomy, and cervical foraminotomy.


Each spinal decompression procedure has its own specific method, but the common steps involved are as follows

  • An incision is made over the affected vertebra (e)
  • Soft tissues such as skin, muscles and fat are smoothly pulled apart to expose the vertebra (e)
  • Sources of compression such as vertebral elements, bone spurs, or disc material are safely removed
  • Soft tissues are gently realigned and the incision is closed.

Spinal nerve decompression can be performed through advanced techniques such as minimally invasive spine surgery. The advantages when compared to the traditional open method are

  • Very small incisions are placed
  • Surgery can be performed in less time
  • Minimal damage to the surrounding structures
  • Shorter recovery time with less post-surgical complications
  • Lower rate of infection
  • Greater range of motion with less post-operative pain

Post-operative care and recovery time

Many patients observe immediate improvement of some or all of their symptoms but sometimes the improvement of the symptoms may be gradual.

The recovery time depends upon the treatment plan of the individuals. Usually spinal decompression procedure is performed on an outpatient basis. Patients have to follow different rehabilitation protocols based on their condition and the type of activity they want to participate in after surgery.

Risks and complications

The potential complications include:

  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Blood clots
  • Blood loss
  • Bowel or bladder problems

Please consult your physician for complete medical information regarding spinal decompression procedure.

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