Understanding Spinal Decompression Surgery

Spinal nerve compression may cause muscle weakness, tingling, numbness, unsteadiness, or acute or chronic pain. The information below goes over the different types of spinal decompression surgery, along with conditions it may correct. If you have any further questions, please call our office.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about spine surgery, including what to expect and who the best candidates for back surgery are.

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Lumbar Decompression Surgery

Lumbar decompression surgery is most often performed in order to alleviate leg pain and numbness as a result of nerve pinching in the lumbar region that hasn’t responded to other treatments. It is not usually a treatment aimed at addressing back pain, though it may alleviate lower back pain as well as leg pain in some cases.

Issues that may be treated by our spine surgeons using lumbar decompression surgery include:

  • A slipped disc with sciatica
  • Spinal cord compression as a result of metastatic cancer
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spinal injuries

Lumbar decompression usually involves one or more of the following procedures:

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Cervical Decompression Surgery

Cervical decompression is performed to alleviate neurological symptoms that originate in the cervical or neck region of the spine. This zone of the spine consists of 7 vertebrae that interact to support the head and protect the spinal cord and other nerves that control essential body functions. Issues that may be treated with cervical decompression surgery include:

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Common Spinal Decompression Procedures

Both lumbar and cervical decompression can be broken down into further specific procedures. These are covered below.

Foraminotomy & Foraminectomy

A foraminotomy is done to widen the openings where nerve roots exit the spinal cord by removing some tissue and bone, relieving pressure. The removal of a larger amount of tissue and bone is more frequently referred to as a foraminectomy.

Laminectomy & Laminotomy

Lamina are the bony arches of the spinal canal. A laminotomy is done to remove a section of the lamina. A laminectomy is performed to remove the entire lamina. Both of these procedures result in a larger spinal canal and, thus, less pressure on the surrounding nerves.

Osteophyte Removal

Osteophytes, commonly known as bone spurs, are smooth growths that occur around the facet joints of the vertebrae. They usually occur as a result of spinal degeneration that comes from excessive spinal friction. Bone spurs often do not cause pain, but they may cause pain if they are located close to nerves or nerve openings. Bone spurs can be removed with surgery to alleviate this pressure and pain.

Discectomy or Microdiscectomy

A discectomy is performed to remove a portion of a herniated, bulging, or otherwise damaged disc in the lumbar region of the spine to alleviate the pressure that the disc is putting on surrounding nerves and structures. A microdiscectomy accomplishes the same thing as a traditional discectomy but uses minimally invasive back surgery tools. Such tools include modern visualization devices and smaller instrumentation, which reduces damage to the surrounding tissues and speeds up recovery.


A corpectomy is a procedure done to remove all or part of the oval segment of the vertebrae, known as the vertebral body. This is often done in conjunction with a discectomy to remove the surrounding discs and a spinal fusion to stabilize the spine. A bone graft is inserted to replace the removed vertebrae and stabilize the spine while alleviating the pressure caused by the diseased vertebral body and discs.

At Hunt Spine, you are what matters most. It is our duty to improve your quality of life by treating back and spine conditions, this is a duty we do not take lightly and it shows in our unique one-on-one consultation. In this consultation, we take as much time as needed to insure we plan out a specialized treatment that will yield optimal results.

Another important factor is you, the patient are fully educated on your condition and its treatment options. You will leave the consultation with a firm understanding and a treatment goal in mind. Dr. Leonel Hunt and Dr. Gabriel Hunt are dedicated to improving your quality of life. Contact us today to learn more, and schedule a consultation with some of the best spine specialists Los Angeles has to offer.

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