The aim of this procedure is to create more space for the nerves in the lumbar spine. The decompression involves a longitudinal skin incision over the lower back and can involve a single spinal level through to multiple levels. The spinal nerves are compressed by a combination of bone and spinal ligaments and these structures are carefully lifted off the lining of the nerves (dura) and where possible removed.
The procedure is done using a surgical microscope to improve visualisation. Local anaesthetic is injected into the surgical site to improve post-operative pain relief and a dressing will be applied. Patients undergoing a single or two-level decompression may be able to go home the same day but generally, patients require an in patient stay in hospital. Patients may be fitted with a urinary catheter and have a wound drain which are both removed the day after surgery.
Post op care
A wound check will need to be performed at 2 weeks after the procedure. The wound should be kept dry until this time. Patients can return to work at 6 weeks for light office type work or 3 months for manual work. Generally patients are safe to drive by six weeks. Patients can gradually increase their level of activity from 6 weeks onwards but heavy lifting and bending exercises should be avoided for at least three months.
All surgical procedures are recorded on the British Spine Registry (BSR). This includes pre- and post-operative clinical scores and a record of any surgical implants used.
Pre-operative clinical scores need to be completed prior to any procedure and can be downloaded here. You will be contacted directly by the BSR by email for your post-operative outcome scores at 6 weeks, 6 months, 1 year and 2 years after any procedure.