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Decompression Surgery

What Is Decompression Surgery?


Spinal decompression surgery includes several procedures designed to relieve your back pain. Decompression surgery takes the pressure off of neural points in your spine. During the surgery, doctors at your NJ spine surgery center remove parts of your spine or fuse them together.

If you suffer from chronic back issues, finding a trustworthy spine pain center is the first step to finally getting relief from persistent discomfort. At our spine and pain center, doctors provide exceptional diagnosis and treatment, including decompression surgery and other back surgeries, placing them at the top of New Jersey orthopedics.

Who’s a Candidate for Decompression Surgery?

You qualify for this surgery if your back pain stops you from enjoying normal activities and if other remedies haven’t worked. With a firm diagnosis, your NJ spinal doctor may first recommend conservative treatments, such as:

  • Chiropractic care
  • Physical therapy
  • Traction or inversion
  • Acupuncture
  • Nerve stimulation
  • Spinal injection therapy

If those treatments fail to relieve your back pain, you’re considered a good candidate for surgical intervention, as long as you’re healthy enough to withstand anesthesia and normal surgical trauma. Your doctor also may require you to stop smoking or take other health measures before recommending any surgery.

What Conditions Does Decompression Surgery Treat?

Once you know that non-surgical methods haven’t relieved back pain, you may benefit from surgical options. Conditions successfully treated with decompression surgery include:

  • A herniated disc. When a spinal cushion bulges between vertebrae, part of it often puts pressure on a nerve.
  • Degenerative disc disease. The spinal cushions between the vertebrae in your spine tend to wear out, causing compression.
  • Sciatica. The sciatic nerve in your back that runs down your leg gets damaged, causing pain.
  • Stenosis. This occurs when the spaces in your spine narrow because of bone spurs or other disc issues, putting pressure on your spinal cord.
  • Radiculopathy. When a nerve is pinched in your spine, it leads to pain and other symptoms.

While all surgical procedures come with risks, side effects are greatly reduced when you rely on physicians with experience, like those at Premier Brain & Spine. They’re recognized as experts in decompression surgery.

Are There Different Decompression Surgeries?

Open surgeries and minimally-invasive surgeries are options offered at a top spine surgery center. Common decompression surgeries to reduce or eliminate your back pain include:

Open surgeries expose the spine and require large incisions. Minimally invasive surgeries use smaller incisions and special techniques to disturb less tissue. Minimally invasive surgery doesn’t guarantee better results or a faster recovery, though recovery time typically is less.

Does Lumbar Decompression Back Surgery Treat Lower Back Pain?

Lumbar decompression surgery alleviates lower back pain if other treatments have failed. There are a number of surgical options available to achieve lumbar decompression, including:

Lumbar disc decompression can be achieved by removing pieces of the lower spine to create space or by fusing the spine to provide greater support. Your doctor may recommend more than one lumbar spine decompression treatment during a single surgery to get the best results for your condition.

How Does Instrumented Fusion Help with Lumbar Decompression?

When doctors attach specially made tools to your spine to aid in the spinal bones growing together, it’s called instrumented spinal fusion. Lumbar decompression and instrumented fusion work together because the fused spinal bones relieve pressure on the nerves in your lower back. Instrumented fusion may eliminate your lumbar pain if it’s caused by spinal deformities or spondylolisthesis. Instrumented fusion has many benefits, including:

  • Instant spinal stabilization
  • Faster bone fusion
  • Spinal abnormality correction
  • Prevention of spinal abnormalities

The instruments are only for temporary support while your bones fuse together. They eventually fail under strain from everyday activities, so doctors prefer to leave the instruments in place rather than perform another surgery to remove them.

What Is Decompression Surgery Like?

Your doctor gives you instructions before your surgery regarding steps to take before the operation, including:

  • Fasting after midnight
  • Avoiding taking certain medications
  • Washing your body with a strong disinfectant soap

You will most likely be given general anesthesia during any spinal surgery. The team of doctors and nurses at your ambulatory surgery center monitor your oxygen levels, heart rate and blood pressure throughout the procedure. Additional steps include:

  • Making an incision in your back to access the part of your spine they need to work on. The size of the incision depends on your body size and the type of procedure you’re getting.
  • Ensuring that you don’t feel any pain during the surgery.

Spinal decompression surgery lasts at least one hour and possibly longer, depending on the complexity of the surgery.

How Is Recovery from Decompression Surgery?

Immediately following the surgery, you’re moved to a recovery room. The surgery center team monitors you for any complications before you’re released. Most people walk without assistance the day after the surgery. Recovery rates vary, but to recover properly, you:

  • May leave the day of your surgery or stay for as long as four days
  • Must avoid twisting, bending or lifting more than five pounds during your recovery
  • Should take pain medications as instructed
  • Need to take care of your incision dressing as directed
  • Must complete physical therapy
  • Should maintain exercise routines

You start to feel normal after two or three weeks. After you recover from decompression surgery, you may feel like you have a new lease on life without back pain. You can count on the top NJ orthopedics at Premier Brain & Spine to take care of you. Contact the nearest center today to schedule an appointment.

Updated on Jul 27, 2022 by Dr. David Wells-Roth (Neurosurgeon) of Premier Brain & Spine

Premier Brain & Spine
10 Parsonage Rd, Suite 208A
Edison, NJ 08837
(732) 258-0190