Decompression surgery for spinal stenosis is used to alleviate symptoms when other more conservative spinal stenosis treatments have been tried with little or no success. Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of one or more openings in the spine, causes pressure to be placed on the spinal cord or nerve roots and can result in pain, numbness and/or tingling in the neck, back and extremities. The objective of decompression surgery is to reduce these symptoms by removing any bone matter, disc material or other debris from the spine to create more space for the nerves and spinal cord.
The most common decompression surgeries for spinal stenosis are laminotomy, laminectomy, and foraminotomy. All of these procedures involve the removal of bone matter:
- Laminotomy – a partial removal of the lamina (a “wall” that covers the spinal cord).
- Laminectomy – the complete removal of the lamina.
- Foraminotomy – a surgical enlargement and partial removal of the foramin, which is an opening in the spinal column through which nerves pass.
When performed in a hospital environment, these procedures may involve extensive removal of spinal components, which means that, in addition to the decompression, it may be necessary to undergo a spinal fusion or some other stabilization surgery.
The procedures listed above are commonly performed in a hospital setting, so there are risks of complications and side effects. Often, these surgeries require large incisions and may cause muscle and tissue damage, which can increase the chance of infection, the length of recovery time and the amount of postoperative pain.
There are, however, minimally invasive endoscopic alternatives to laminotomy and foraminotomy that can be performed in an outpatient environment. Laser Spine Institute uses endoscopic techniques for laminotomy, foraminotomy and other procedures to treat symptoms of a variety of neck and back problems. Laser Spine Institute does not, however, perform laminectomy procedures.
If you have tried conservative spinal stenosis treatments but are still experiencing pain and limited mobility – and you are concerned about traditional surgical treatments – it may be time to contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how we can help you reclaim your life. We will be happy to review your MRI or CT scan completely free of charge.