Decompression Surgery - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Decompression Surgery

Decompression Surgery

Pressure on nerves is a common cause of spine problems, whether in the lower back (lumbar) or the neck (cervical). Several surgical procedures are employed to relieve the pressure on the nerves.

Several conditions may cause pressure on spinal nerves, including injury, disease (such as arthritis) or the degenerative effects of aging and disc herniation.


The lamina is the bone at the back of the vertebrae or spinal column. A laminotomy is a surgical procedure that removes a portion of the bone to gain access to the spinal cord and where the nerves are. After access is achieved, the structure, which is compromising the nerves, can be removed. Your surgeon will need to remove part of the disc or any bone spurs pressing on nerves.


In some cases, your surgeon may need to remove the entire lamina, especially when arthritis is weakening the nerves on both sides of the spine. This procedure gives the surgeon the option of removing part of the disc or any bone spurs that may be pressing on nerves.

This procedure allows the surgeon to enlarge the spinal canal in response to spinal stenosis. A spinal fusion may also be necessary to stabilize the vertebrae.

The large muscles on your back protect the new opening.


A diskectomy involves removing that part of a disc that is herniated or pressing on spinal canal nerves. It is performed through a laminotomy or laminectomy.

The surgeon can also remove loose disc material and bone spurs, yet still leave enough of the disc remaining to cushion the vertebrae.

When appropriate, your surgeon may use a special surgical microscope to perform the diskectomy. This procedure is known as a microdiskectomy.


Your recovery and stay in the hospital will depend on the extent of your surgery and your general health. In many cases, you will be encouraged to move around as soon as you are able.

Your doctor will give you instructions on what you can do and what should be avoided. Generally, your recovery routine will include some specific exercises to increase strength and your weak spine muscles. You may also be sent to a physical therapist for guided activity and exercises.

Marshfield Clinic: Spine Care
1000 North Oak Avenue
Marshfield, WI 54449

715-387-5511 or 1-800-782-8581

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