Spine Decompression Surgery : A Guide to Understanding and Treating Back Pain
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12, April 2024

Spine Decompression Surgery : A Guide to Understanding and Treating Back Pain


When you are suffering from a persistent back pain that won’t go away with any of the medical treatment, then you may find long-term relief from spine decompression surgery. Spinal decompression is the term used to describe various forms of treatment that can relieve back pain by relieving pressure on the neural components of your spine. Pain relief following spinal decompression surgery can often be achieved with great success.

Your body is supported by your spine, or backbone. It is made up of bones called vertebrae that are kept flexible by spinal discs and ligaments. A nerve supply passes through the center of these bones, ligaments, and discs within the spinal column.

Pain may result from spinal injuries or degeneration due to wear and tear of the spine. When your spine becomes compressed, excess pressure gets transmitted to your spinal cord and nerves, causing pain. In order to reduce such pain, spinal decompression is performed to release the pressure.

Numerous factors determine which procedure would be most effective for you. Based on the severity of your injury and your medical history, your doctor will decide on a course of action. Medical professionals usually favor a "stepped" approach. They begin with less invasive and more economical procedures to observe the course of the injury cure. Surgery might be the next course of treatment if those don't work.

Why is Spine Decompression Surgery Done?

Following are the conditions that can be relieved by spine decompression surgery:

  • Bulging disks: It happens when the cushion that is present between vertebrae bulges out.
  • Degenerative discs: It happens when there occurs the wearing of cushion between vertebrae.
  • Herniated disks: It occurs when a disc fragment presses against a nerve.
  • Pinched nerves: It happens when a nerve is compressed or pinched, which results in tingling, pain, or numbness.
  • Sciatica: It happens when the sciatic nerve gets damaged.
  • Spinal stenosis: It is the narrowing of the spaces in your spine as a result of bulging or herniated discs or bone spurs.

What are Types of Spine Decompression Surgeries?

When alternative treatments are ineffective, medical professionals may suggest surgery. While minimally invasive techniques can be used in some spinal decompression surgeries, but not in others. Figure out from your doctor if a minimally invasive procedure is right for you. For spinal compression, your surgical options could be as follows:

  • Corpectomy: A disc or vertebra is removed by your orthopedic surgeon. Your surgeon may perform a spinal fusion, which joins two bones, to stabilize your spine.
  • Diskectomy: To relieve pressure from the stressed nerve, the orthopedic surgeon removes a portion of the disc.
  • Foraminotomy or foraminectomy: By excising bone or other tissue, the orthopedic surgeon widens the apertures for your nerve roots. Pain is reduced by creating gaps for the nerves to leave your spinal cord.
  • Laminotomy or laminectomy: The spinal canal's bony arches may be removed entirely by the surgeon treating you. The spinal canal is opened and pressure is released when these bone fragments are removed.
  • Osteophyte removal: As people age, bone spurs, also known as osteophytes, protrude from their bodies. They can be taken out by your surgeon to release pressure.

What to Expect Before Spine Decompression Surgery?

Being as fit as possible prior to surgery aids in both the recovery process and lowers the likelihood of complications. It is recommended to quit smoking, maintain a healthy diet, and engage in regular exercise from the moment you find out you will be undergoing spinal decompression surgery.

A pre-operative assessment appointment will be scheduled for you a few days or weeks prior to your procedure. In order to determine whether you are a good candidate for surgery, your consultation may include laboratory tests, a general health examination, and an X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the spine.

This evaluation is an excellent chance for you to talk about any worries you may have or to ask queries regarding your procedure. The doctor who will perform your procedure will be introduced to you. A neurosurgeon or an orthopedic surgeon with expertise in spinal surgery performs spinal decompression surgery.

What to Expect During Spine Decompression Surgery?

  • Either the day before or on the day of the procedure, you will be admitted to the hospital. 
  • What to expect during the procedure will be explained by your anesthetist and surgeon. 
  • You'll have the chance to ask any questions you may have after this.
  • You will be required to sign a consent form prior to the procedure in order to attest to your understanding of the possible risks. 
  • Usually, you will be instructed to fast for approximately six hours prior to the procedure.
  • You will typically lie face down on a specially curved mattress during spinal decompression surgery to provide the surgeon with better access to the damaged area of your spine and to lessen its impact on the pelvis, chest, and abdomen.
  • Since general anesthesia is used during the procedure, you won't experience any pain and will be asleep throughout it. 
  • Depending on the degree of complexity, the entire process can take much longer than the minimum hour.
  • An X-ray will be used to determine the precise level of decompression needed. 
  • A vertical incision along your spine will be created in the middle of the back.
  • Your back's muscles will be raised off your backbone, exposing your spine's back. 
  • The pressure on the spinal cord and nerves will be relieved gradually by removing the damaged tissues or nerves. 
  • The muscles will be sutured back together and the opening closed after decompression has been accomplished accurately.


Back pain can significantly impact your quality of life. If conservative treatments haven't provided relief, spine decompression surgery may be an option to explore. It's crucial to discuss your specific condition with a healthcare professional to determine if this surgery is suitable for you. They can explain the different types of decompression surgeries, potential risks and benefits, and the recovery process. Remember, early diagnosis and proper treatment are essential for managing back pain and regaining an active lifestyle.

Choose IBS Hospital to discover the possibilities of a painless future and best outcomes, book your consultation now!  


Q1: How long does recovery take after spinal decompression surgery?

A: After your procedure, it may take up to six weeks for all of your general pain and fatigue to go away.

Q2: Is spinal decompression surgery a painful procedure?

A: The most common method for performing spinal decompression is done by administering general anesthesia, which renders you unconscious and painless throughout the process. The entire process typically takes one hour or less, though it could take considerably longer depending on how complicated the process is.

Q3: How long will you stay in bed after spine surgery?

A: After spine surgery for a herniated disc, most patients are typically told to restrict their activities for two to four weeks. Some patients, though, might have to spend up to eight weeks in bed rest. Personalized instructions tailored to your unique circumstances will be provided by your doctor.

Dr Aaksha Shukla By -Dr Aaksha Shukla | April 12, 2024 | 9 Min Read

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