Spine decompression is a procedure performed to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves anywhere along the spine from the neck (cervical) to the lower back (lumbar). Spinal canal stenosis, disc herniations, fractures, infections and tumors can narrow the spinal canal and compress the nerves. Spinal nerve compression can cause chronic pain, numbness and tingling sensation or weakness in your arms or legs. Posterior spinal decompression surgery is performed from the back of the spine.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia and your surgeon makes an incision on the skin at the back over the involved region of the spine. The muscles overlying the vertebrae are spilt and moved to the side exposing the lamina of the vertebra. The lamina is the bone that makes the backside of the spinal canal and forms a protective roof over back of the spinal cord. Then the entire bony lamina and ligament is removed (laminectomy). In some cases, only a small opening of the lamina is made by removing bone of the lamina above and below the spinal nerves to relieve compression (laminotomy). Next, to remove the bone spurs and the thickened ligament the protective sac of the spinal cord and the nerve root are retracted. Then the facet joints are trimmed to create more space for the nerve roots. If compression is caused from a slipped disc, your surgeon will perform a discectomy, removal of a portion of a slipped disc.
This surgery makes the spine unstable and therefore another procedure, spinal fusion is performed to stabilize the spine. Spinal fusion uses bone grafts, rods, plates or screws to join together two separate vertebrae in the spine.