Lumbar Microscopic Decompression Surgery
Lumbar decompression surgery is performed to relieve pain caused by neural impingement of the lower spine. The use of a robotic microscope and special instrumentation makes this a an outpatient, minimally invasive spine surgery.
The goal of lumbar microscopic decompression is to alleviate pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots, enabling patients to live pain-free and resume regular activities.
Indications for lumbar micro-decompression
This surgical procedure may be necessary when spinal cord compression or pinched nerves are causing radiating pain and tingling in the buttocks and legs, muscle weakness, or numbness in the lower body. Common causes of this pressure are spinal stenosis, herniated lumbar discs, and disc degeneration. Increased pressure on the spinal cord nerves can also result from spondylolisthesis, or less frequently, a tumor.
How a lumbar microscopic decompression is performed
This is a straightforward outpatient procedure performed at a surgical hospital. This lumbar spine surgery involves the following steps:
- X-rays are utilized to locate the affected vertebrae
- A very small incision is made
- The vertebrae are exposed by gently pulling aside the soft tissue and dilating the muscles
- A microscope is used to identify the source of pressure
- Disc material, bone spurs, or other tissues that are causing compression are removed
- The incision is closed with absorbable sutures and covered with a sterile bandage
This minimally invasive procedure lasts approximately one hour. It leaves a tiny scar and has many advantages compared to traditional, open decompression surgery.
Benefits of minimally invasive lumbar decompression
Evidence-based medicine has proven that microscopic decompression surgery of the lumbar spine offers the following benefits to patients:
- Less intraoperative bleeding
- More accurate
- Less pain after the operation
- Faster recovery
- Minimal scarring
- Maintains spinal stability
- Less risk of muscle injury
- Lower risk of postoperative infection
- No general anesthesia
- Performed on an outpatient basis
Recovery and post-op care
Most patients experience minimal discomfort and are able to stand and walk around on the same day of the procedure. A post-op recovery plan will be provided and may include pain relieving medication and limitations of certain activities like heavy lifting, bending, or twisting during the recovery.
The majority of patients can return to work within one week if no major physical exertion is required. Normal activities and low impact sports can be resumed after 4 -6 weeks, or when your surgeon indicates the healing process is complete. Physical therapy and certain exercises may be recommended to help strengthen the lower back and improve flexibility.
Potential risks of minimally invasive microscopic lumbar decompression
Minimally-invasive lumbar decompression has a low risk of complications when performed by an experienced spinal surgeon. Although rare, the following complications can occur with this surgery: recurrent disc herniation, pain, damage to nerve roots, and infection.
Dr. David Barnett, Dallas Spine and Neurosurgeon
When conservative treatment of a herniated lumbar disc or spinal stenosis is ineffective, micro-decompression surgery can alleviate symptoms with minimal risk of complications or downtime.
To find out if you’re a good candidate for lumbar microscopic decompression surgery in Dallas, schedule an appointment with Dr. Barnett today.
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