Microdecompression: is an operation to remove pressure on a nerve caused by spinal stenosis. This surgery involves a vertical incision one to two inches in length along the midline of the back. The doctor uses a microscope to see and protect the nerve roots, and safely remove the portions of tissue and bone which press on the nerve roots. Removing the tissues pressing on the nerve allows the nerve to begin to heal.
The reason to do this surgery is to relieve the leg pain or weakness caused by the pressure on the nerve roots. The success rate of relieving leg pain is very high, approximately 90%. The success rate of relieving chronic back pain present prior to surgery is much less predictable.
The length of the operation is typically short (60-90 minutes), but depends on the number of spinal levels operated upon, whether or not previous surgery has been performed and the severity of the pressure on the nerve roots. Blood loss is minimal so no blood donations are necessary before the operation. Hospitalization is brief and while some patients may go home the day of surgery, most patients go home the day after surgery.
During a lumbar decompression back surgery, a small portion of the bone over the nerve root and/or disc material from under the nerve root is removed to give the nerve root more space and provide a better healing environment.