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Spinal Decompression Surgery

When performed by our highly skilled surgeons, spinal decompression surgery changes lives. If you're experiencing symptoms like leg or arm pain, this surgery may help change your life, too, by helping you move comfortably again.

Spinal Decompression: Enlarging the Spinal Canal

Spinal decompression surgery takes pressure off the spinal cord and/or nerves by increasing the size of the spinal canal. That pressure is often caused by a bone spur—or bony growth brought on by arthritis in the spine. It can also be caused by other spine problems, including a herniated disc and enlarged ligaments.

Whatever its cause, this pressure can trigger pain, weakness, tingling and numbness in the arms, hands, legs and feet—depending on what area of the spine is affected. Bowel and bladder problems can also occur, though that’s rare.

Our surgeons approach spinal decompression surgery conservatively and almost always advise it only when nonsurgical treatments are no longer effective. However, it may sometimes also be necessary if symptoms are severe or worsening dramatically.

Laminectomy: A Common Decompression Surgery

Laminectomy is a commonly performed spinal decompression surgery. During this surgery, surgeons remove the lamina, the back part of a vertebra that covers the spinal canal. They may also remove bone spurs and ligaments that are narrowing the canal.

At the same time, they may also perform a discectomy to remove any part of a disc herniation that is compressing a nerve, or a spinal fusion if needed to stabilize the spine.

Recovery from Spinal Decompression

After spinal decompression surgery, you should notice an improvement in your symptoms. In some people that improvement is rapid; in others it's more gradual.

Our surgeons may recommend that you take part in a physical therapy program after surgery to help improve your strength and flexibility.

You may be able to drive within a week or two after surgery and possibly return to work within a few weeks. Expect a longer recovery if you also had a spinal fusion.