Lumbar decompression surgery is a type of surgery which is used to treat compressed nerves in your lower (lumbar) spine. Decompression surgery is recommended only when conventional treatments(non-surgical treatments) fail to improve the condition. The surgery helps to improve symptoms like pain in the back and numbness in the legs caused due to pressure on the nerves in the spine.
What Is Lumbar Decompression Surgery?
Lumbar decompression is a surgical procedure which is performed to relieve the pressure and to alleviate pain caused by compressed nerves on the spinal cord. The decompression surgery helps to create space by removing or adjusting the vertebra covering your spinal canal. Nerve compression is often caused due to arthritis, enlargement of joints, bulging discs, bone spurs, and thickening of ligaments etc.
Lumbar Decompression Surgery Helps To Treat:
Narrowing of this spinal and nerve root canals can result in chronic pain, numbness, and weakening of muscles in arms or legs. Surgery is recommended when the symptoms haven’t improved with conventional treatments like physical therapy, medications etc.
Here Some of the conditions which can be treated with lumbar decompression surgery.
- Lumbar Canal stenosis
- Stenosis secondary to prolapsed intervertebral disc causing sciatica
- Part of treating the spinal injuries
- Metastatic spinal cord compression
- Cauda equina syndrome
- Slipped disc and sciatica
- Spinal tumours
What Happens During Lumbar Decompression Surgery?
If a patient has to undergo lumbar decompression surgery, the dural sac and the traversing and the exiting nerves are thoroughly decompressed. The nerves will be relieved from the compression, and the compromised microvascular blood supply will be restored.
One of the following procedure is recommended in treating lumbar decompression surgery:
- Laminectomy: Laminectomy is a surgical procedure performed to create space by removing the lamina of the vertebra which covers the spinal canal. It is also called a decompression surgery that enlarges the spinal canal and relieves pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
- Laminotomy and Interlaminar Decompression: This procedure is the procedure of choice as nowadays complete laminectomy is not being replaced by Laminotomy and fenestration procedures. These involve making a small hole in the lamina for during the appropriate decompression and instead of classical laminectomy
- Discectomy: A discectomy is a surgical procedure involved in removing abnormal disc compressing the nerve root or the spinal cord — the pressure created by the intervertebral disc results in intense pain, muscle weakness by radiating nerves.
- Spinal Fusion: Spinal fusion is a technique that corrects vertebral bone problems. This procedure involves fusing of two vertebral bones together to stabilize and strengthen the spine.
- Foraminotomy: Foraminotomy surgery helps to relieve pressure on nerves caused by the intervertebral foramina. It is a passage through which the nerve bundles passes through bones of the vertebrae of the spine. This technique is employed when the height of the foramen collapses and forms a pinched nerve due to disc degeneration.
Recovery From Lumbar Decompression Surgery
Recovering from lumbar decompression surgery depends on various factors like complexity of the surgery, level of mobility before the operation, preoperative patient medical conditions etc. That is why, for some people, a course of physiotherapy is suggested before the operation.
Most people can walk within a day after the operation without any assistance. Usually, it takes 4 to 6 weeks to reach the expected level of mobility and function. However, strenuous activities need to be avoided for a few weeks.
After lumbar decompression surgery, you may feel little soreness on your back, and probably you’ll be attached with one or more tubes for a short time in the hospital.
These may include:
- An intravenous drip supplying fluids into a vein to ensure not to get dehydrated
- A drain tube to extract fluid from your wound
- Urinary catheter inserted into your bladder.
- A pump to give painkillers directly into your veins
- After the whole procedure, a physiotherapist will suggest you some simple exercises to do at home safely to regain strength, movement and to boost the recovery.
Post-Op Instructions After Lumbar Decompression Surgery For Faster Recovery
Pain medication is given to cope up with the immediate postoperative pain. Your surgeon may advise this for a few weeks. If Narcotics are prescribed, they can cause constipation and measures to be taken to combat it.
- You are active speeds up your recovery. Exercise daily, as recommended by your physiotherapist.
- Don’t sit or stand in a single position for a long time because it can make you feel stiff and sore.
- Prefer to bend at the hip rather than the spine. Stand up straight by keeping your shoulders, hips in a straight line and move uniquely, do not twist the body at the hips or shoulders.
- Walking is good as it keeps you active.
- Avoid lifting heavy weights, twisting awkwardly and leaning when performing everyday tasks.
- Avoid driving for some weeks until you feel you are comfortable.
- Sleep on your back, placing pillows under your neck and knees.
- For detailed information about Lumbar Decompression Surgery or having any other spine problems consult Dr Surya Prakash, one of the best spine surgeons in Hyderabad. Never take a chance over spine problems; they can lead to permanent disabilities.