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Lumbar Decompression – Back and leg pain may be felt when there is pressure on a nerve root in the lower spine, (nerve root compression). Lumbar decompression is a surgical technique that allows solving this problem successfully. Various clinics use the term “Lumbar Decompression” to market their spinal traction devices. These are temporary methods of pulling the spine straight but do not eradicate the underlying physical narrowing.

Lumbar DecompressionWhat is lumbar decompression?

Lumbar decompression surgery is a method that enables the space around the trapped nerves to become enlarged. This then relieves the nerves of compression and brings relief of pain. The operation involves reaching the lumbar spine through a little incision in the lower back. Then, the specialist separates the muscles of the spine and removes a part of the lamina or ligamentum (thickened degenerated tissue) in order to expose the compressed nerve root(s). Finally, the elimination of the source of compression allows THE NERVES TO BECOME FREED UP..

The surgical procedure

The incision

This surgery requires that the patient lies on the abdomen. The doctor performs a little incision in the lower back. It is worth mentioning that the size of the incision depends on the severity of the nerve root compression.


The surgeon places a small self-retaining retractor to open the surgical wound. So, the lamina (bone covering the spinal canal) emerges. Then a small part of it is shaved to expose the thick ligament that covers the spinal canal (ligamentum flavum).

Entering the Spinal Canal

Then the surgeon reaches the spinal canal by an carefully removing the thick (sometimes calcified) ligament. As a consequence, the compressed nerves are now visible. The removal of the ligament itself may be enough to release the trapped nerves, but in some cases, other structures may also be contributing to the narrowing of the nerves such as bulging, ruptured/herniated disc, or a bone spur. These can also be addressed.

Removal of a Herniated Disk

A herniated disk is taken out if it is the cause of the compression. As much of the disc is removed as is necessary to take pressure off the nerve.

This enables the nerve to begin healing. The space left after this procedure will fill with connective tissue over time.

Incision Closure

The surgery finishes when the specialist closes the incision in some layers. An absorbable suture material is used.

It has been demonstrated that lumbar decompression´s risks are low when you are in expert hands.

Recovery period

Your doctor is a specialist to correct this problem by performing the surgery, so he and the rest of the healthcare staff will help you in your recovery. Your body has the capacity of healing the involved muscle, nerve, and bone tissues over time.

The London Spine Unit performs this operation as DAY SURGERY. Patients usually leave 1 or 2 hours after surgery.

At The London Spine Unit, The Harley Street Hospital, we have some of the best specialists to perform lumbar decompression surgery. Book an appointment to get an assessment.

Additional links

Lumbar Decompression | Sacroiliac joint injection cost

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