Understanding Surgical Decompression

Surgical decompression of the spine describes a procedure that aims to release pressure placed on the spinal nerves. Decompression can be achieved by removing material that is exerting this pressure, or by wielding the openings, called foramina, through which the spinal nerves travel as they exit the spinal cord. Releasing the stress on spinal nerves often is necessary when conservative treatments have failed to reduce pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in the neck, back, and extremities. 

Causes Of Spinal Nerve Compression

There are many degenerative spine conditions that can eventually require surgical decompression, including: 

  • Herniated discs. A torn spinal disc that extrudes inner fluid into the spinal canal. A herniated disc can be asymptomatic, but displaced disc tissue often interferes with spinal nerves. 
  • Bulging discs. A disc that has bulged outside of its normal boundary but has not yet torn. This can compress surrounding spinal nerve roots or the spinal cord. 
  • Osteophytes. Also called bone spurs, these are smooth growths of bone that your body produces in response to an arthritic spine. Bone spurs often appear in the facet joints and around the ridges of vertebrae. 
  • Spinal Stenosis. Narrowing of the spinal canal or foramina due to any of the above conditions, or other causes. 

Surgical Decompression Procedures

Surgical decompression procedures can take a variety of forms, from highly invasive to minimally invasive. While a traditional open spine operation involves the removal of bone, discs, and other tissues putting pressure on nerves, there can be significant drawbacks. This includes the use of a large incision, muscle trauma, scarring, and extensive rehabilitation. 

In contrast, minimally invasive spine surgery at BEST Health System can decompress spinal nerves with the use of a less than one-inch incision and other muscle-sparing techniques. This results in a streamlined outpatient experience, less risk of complications like infection, and a shorter recovery time compared to traditional open spine procedures. 

Learn More About BEST Health System

If you would like to find out more about minimally invasive spinal decompression procedures, contact BEST Health System today!