Approach: This procedure is done to alleviate pressure on the spinal cord or nerve root, usually due to a herniated disc. A short incision is made in the lower back and the skin, muscles, and tissues are gently moved to the side to expose the rear of the spinal column. Usually a small portion of the bone that covers the spinal cord is drilled away to expose the affected area.
Decompression: The affected nerve root is gently moved to the side and the impinging disc material is removed.
Stabilization: Since this procedure leaves most of the bone, joints, and ligaments intact, there is rarely a need to provide additional stabilization. If necessary, instrumentation or a bone-graft fusion may be recommended.
After surgery, patients will remain in the hospital for one day. Most patients are able to return to all activities within a week. A postoperative rehabilitation program is usually prescribed to guide return to activities and normal life.