A surgical procedure used to treat spinal stenosis—a narrowing of the spinal canal that puts pressure on nerve roots where they emerge from the spinal cord and cause pain and numbness in the buttocks and legs—in the lower back, minimally invasive lumbar micro-decompression is performed on an outpatient basis and with only local anesthesia.
The patient lies face down on the operating table and a surgeon makes a small incision in the lower back after marking the area with the help of an x-ray. Specialized instruments are then inserted into the tissues of the incision to gain access to the specific vertebra causing the stenosis. And tissue or ligaments that are putting pressure on the local nerves are removed, provided nearly immediate relief from symptoms.
Patients are advised to limit their activities so that proper healing can occur, which happens quickly as the minimally invasive nature of the procedure means adjacent tissue fibers or bones were not impacted during the decompression surgery. A small amount of discomfort may be present at the site of the incision, and any pain from the procedure can be controlled with medications.