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Lumbar spinal decompression is a surgical procedure to treat spinal stenosis, where nerves in the spinal canal become trapped where they exit the lower end of the spinal cord. This is normally caused by bulging of the discs in the spine, arthritis or thickening of the ligaments.
Symptoms of spinal stenosis include pain and weakness in the legs, and surgery can help to treat this. If your symptoms are mild, an operation might not be necessary. Sometimes the symptoms improve over time and they are unlikely to get worse. An injection of steroids is often effective for pain in the leg caused by pressure on the nerves of the lower spine (sciatica).
During your operation, which takes just over an hour and will use some form of anaesthetic, your surgeon will remove spinal ligament tissue and bone to release trapped nerves. The bones will be joined using a bone graft, metal screws and rods.
You’ll be encouraged to walk on the day after your operation and will normally return home within three to five days. It can take some time before heavy lifting is possible after back surgery.
Ask your consultant about exercise, though generally resuming normal light exercise aids recovery.
Recovery from spinal surgery varies from patient to patient and symptoms might come back in time, due to wear and tear. Most patients make a good recovery from spinal stenosis operations.
EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.
The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.