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Disease Overview

The spinal cord is protected by a bony column of vertebral bones, arranged one above the other. Injury or wear-and-tear can cause parts of the vertebrae to compress the nerves of the spinal cord, leading to pain, numbness or tingling in the part of the body that the nerve supplies. 

What is Lumbar Decompression?

Lumbar decompression is a surgical procedure performed to relieve pressure over the compressed nerves in the lower spine (lumbar region). 

Indications for Lumbar Decompression

Lumbar decompression is usually indicated for herniated lumbar disc, spinal stenosis, spinal injury or spinal tumors, and when conservative treatment options do not provide relief. 

Lumbar Decompression Procedure

  • Lumbar decompression is performed under general anesthesia. 
  • Your surgeon makes a small incision in the midline over your lower back. 
  • The layers of muscle are separated, and the affected nerve root is identified. 
  • The lamina (bony arch of your vertebra) may be removed (laminectomy) and the facet joints may be trimmed to reach the compressed nerve. 
  • Your surgeon removes any bone spurs or disc material that is pressing on the spinal nerve. 
  • The incisions are closed with absorbable sutures and covered with a dressing. 

Risks and Complications of Lumbar Decompression

As with any procedure, lumbar decompression may involve certain risks and complications such as infection, bleeding, leakage of cerebrospinal fluid, bladder or bowel incontinence, weakness, numbness, and pain.

What is Lumbar Fusion?

Spinal fusion, also called arthrodesis, is a surgical technique used to join two or more vertebrae (bones) within the spine. Lumbar fusion is the fusion the vertebrae in the lumbar portion of the spine (lower back).

Indications of Lumbar Fusion

  • Lumbar fusion surgery may be used to treat 
  • Spondylolisthesis (slipping of the vertebrae) 
  • Degenerated discs 
  • Scoliosis or kyphosis (abnormal curvature of the spine) 
  • Spinal infections or tumors 
  • Traumatic injury of the spine 
  • Recurrent disc herniation 
  • Unstable spine

Posterior Lumbar Fusion Procedure

The surgery can be performed as an open or laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery. Posterior spinal fusion is a procedure where your surgeon makes an incision on your back to expose the spine. The soft tissues and blood vessels are kept apart to avoid damage.
In spinal fusion, a piece of bone, taken from other parts of the body or donated from a bone bank is transplanted between the adjacent vertebrae. Screws, plates or cages may be used with the bone graft to help hold the spine.