Overview
Surgical decompression may be performed to relieve chronic pain associated with back problems such as spinal stenosis or herniated discs.

What does it involve?
Surgical decompression is performed under general anesthesia.

Decompression surgery relieves pressure on the spine. Several different techniques may be used during decompression surgery depending on what causes your pain and where the problem is located. During a laminectomy, the back part of one or more vertebrae may be completely or partially removed. Any bone spurs will be removed. A discectomy removes a herniated disc. Microdiscectomies and endoscopic discectomies are minimally invasive versions of discectomy. ... read more

Depending on your condition, the surgeon may perform a laminectomy, a discectomy, or both.

Recovery
You can expect to spend one to three days in the hospital recovering from decompression surgery. You will need to wear a back brace or corset for about six weeks after surgery. During this time, you will need to avoid driving or riding in cars.

Results
More than 39,000 people were followed after surgical decompression surgery for lumbar disc herniation. Regardless of which surgical techniques were used, approximately 79 percent of participants reported good or excellent results from the surgery.

Constraints
Surgical decompression may not be successful at reducing pain.

You may need to repeat decompression surgery at some point.

Any surgery carries risks including blood clots, blood loss, infection, breathing problems, reactions to medication, and heart attack or stroke during the surgery.

Complications of decompression surgery can include bowel or bladder incontinence.

There may be pain and inflammation during recovery from surgical decompression.

Surgical Decompression Questions

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