Lumbar decompression surgery
Lumbar decompression surgery is a type of surgery used to treat compressed nerves in the lower (lumbar) spine.
It'sonly recommended when non-surgical treatments haven't helped.
Thesurgery aims to improve symptoms such aspersistent pain and numbness in the legs caused by pressure on the nerves in the spine.
Lumbar decompression surgery is often used to treat:
If lumbar decompression surgery is recommended, you'll usually have at least one of the following procedures:
In many cases, a combination of these techniques may be used.
Lumbar decompression is usually carried out under general anaesthetic , which means you'll be unconscious during the procedure and won't feel any pain as it's carried out. The whole operation usually takes at least an hour, but may take much longer, depending on the complexity of the procedure.
You'll usually be well enough to leave hospital about one to four days after having surgery, depending on the complexity of the surgery and your level of mobility before the operation.
Most people are able to walk unassisted within a day of having the operation, although more strenuous activities will need to be avoided for about six weeks.
You may be able to return to work after about four to six weeks, although you may need more time off if your job involves driving for long periods or lifting heavy objects.
There's good evidence that decompression surgery can be an effective treatment for people with severe pain caused by compressed nerves.
Up to three in every four people who have the operation experience a significant improvement in pain. People who found walking difficult before surgery because of leg pain or weakness are often able to walk further and more easily after the operation.
Although lumbar decompression is often successful, like all types of surgery it carries a risk of complications.
Complications associated with lumbar decompression surgery include:
Lumbar decompression surgery is a type of surgery used to treat compressed nerves in the lower (lumbar) spine. It's only recommended when non-surgical treatments haven't helped.
Lumbar decompression surgery is usually only considered if non-surgical treatments for your lower spine haven't worked and symptoms are affecting your quality of life.
If you and your consultant decide you could benefit from lumbar decompression surgery, you'll be put on a waiting list. Your doctor or surgeon should be able to tell you how long you're likely to have to wait.
Recovery after lumbar decompression surgery will depend on your fitness and level of activity prior to surgery. This is why a course of physiotherapy before the operation may be recommended.
Lumbar decompression surgery is generally effective in relieving symptoms such as leg pain and numbness. However, up to one in three people continue to have symptoms after surgery, or develop symptoms again within a few years.
Ron Oxburgh, chairman of several small companies, successfully underwent lumbar decompression surgery several years ago.