Lumbar Decompression Surgery

Lumbar Decompression Surgery
Lumbar Decompression Surgery

Lumbar Decompression Surgery

What is Spinal Decompression Surgery?

Spinal decompression is a type of surgery to relieve symptoms caused by pressure on the spinal cord and/or the nerves branching off from it. Pressure (compression) on the nerves or spinal cord can be the result of several factors including:

  • Bulging or herniated discs
  • Bony growths
  • Loosened ligaments.

Symptoms of Spinal Nerve Compression in the Low Back Include:

  • Pain in the low back, as well as in the buttocks and down the leg
  • Numbness or tingling in the buttocks, leg and foot
  • Weakness

Severe cases of nerve compression in the low back (lumbar region) can cause paralysis and problems with bladder and/or bowel function.

How is Spinal Decompression Surgery Performed?

There are several surgical procedures that can be performed to remove the pressure (i.e., decompress) on a nerve or spinal cord. Surgeons often utilize more than one of these techniques. If the spine is unstable, spinal fusion may be required in addition to decompression.

Discectomy: A portion of a disc that has herniated is removed to relieve pressure on the nearby nerves.

Laminotomy/laminectomy: These procedures which increase the size of the spinal canal are very similar. A piece of bone (called the lamina) around the spinal canal is either partially or totally removed.

Foraminotomy/foraminectomy: These procedures are very similar; they increase the amount of space around nerves as they branch off the spinal cord. A piece of bone and other tissues are removed to provide this space.

Osteophyte removal: This procedure involves removing bony spurs (osteophytes).

Corpectomy: This is a procedure to remove a large portion of a vertebra.

All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.

All materials copyright © 2019, All Rights Reserved.

COVID-19 Update:
We are still open and treating patients, however, in order to assist in minimizing the spread of the COVID-19 virus and in order to make it safer for you we have made some changes which, we hope, will be temporary.

Appointments made for office visits will be distanced apart in order to avoid crowding the waiting room.

In addition, we are currently working a reduced office schedule of Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:30 AM to 12 noon. If for some reason, you are only able to come in the afternoon special arrangements can be made.

If you call the office and the answering service answers, you can leave a message with them for a routine follow-up and we will call you back. If you believe your symptoms are more serious, then please ask the answering service to patch the call through to me.

For some types of office visits, we also have telemedicine options that can be downloaded for free onto your iPhone. These include Zoom and FaceTime.

Thank you for your continued support during these times and we look forward to serving you in full capacity towards the end of April.


Donald Mackenzie, M.D, F.R.C.S.C, F.A.C.S.