Endoscopic Lateral Decompression

An endoscopic lateral decompression relieves compressed nerves in the spine by surgically removing the source of the compression. Using an endoscope, a surgeon will cut through pieces of the joints and ligaments that are compressing a spinal nerve to provide relief and comfort. Due to the minor incisions made, recovery time is relatively quick, and patients can walk right after the procedure.

What is it?   

An endoscopic lateral decompression seeks to relieve spinal pain by surgically removing the source of the pain. The type and location of pain any given patient may be experiencing is unique, and so the procedure has many varied forms that aim to remove specific discs/vertebrae/nerves/tissues dependent on the particular case. Removing the source of the compression often results in decreased pain.

What should I do to prepare?  

You will not be able to eat or drink after the midnight before the surgery. You will need to stop taking medications, particularly NSAIDs, a week before the procedure. Your doctor might suggest that you quit smoking before the procedure, and prepare to be in good shape, such as healthy eating and regular exercise.

What happens during the process?  

The patient will lie face down on the procedure table and given general anesthesia. The process will take at least an hour, possibly much longer. An incision will be made along the middle of your back, and the muscles will be pulled aside to achieve visualization of the spinal column. Affected nerves/discs/tissues will be systematically removed to reduce pressure on the vertebral column, and then the incision will be stitched up and closed.

What are the risks and potential complications? 

As with any surgery, endoscopic lateral decompression carries risks. Potential complications include infection, bleeding, pain at the incision site, pseudoarthritis, nerve damage, and blood clots.


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