When you hear that you may need spinal surgery to relieve or remedy back pain, your heart sinks into your stomach. It’s a disheartening recommendation to hear from an orthopedic specialist. You may have tried nearly everything, but you feel as though there has to be some other option that doesn’t involve surgery.
In fact, many of the patients who visit ClinTech Center for Spine Health in Johnstown are searching for a last resort option. They’ve tried everything, and this is there final attempt to relieve their back pain. You’re not alone when it comes to spine surgery. Your orthopedic doctor will consult with you and recommend the best possible surgery to help you find pain relief.
In this post, we answer some of the most common FAQs surrounding lumbar decompression surgery. Read on to learn more!
What Is Lumbar Decompression Surgery?
Lumbar decompression surgery is a spinal surgery to treat compressed nerves in the lower spine (lumbar) region. The surgery is aimed to help remedy numbness in legs and/or persistent pain. Here are some of the conditions decompression surgery aims to address and remedy:
- Metastatic spinal cord compression
- Various spinal injuries
- A slipped disc
- Spinal stenosis
What Happens During Lumbar Decompression Surgery?
There are three potential procedures you may experience if your doctor recommends lumbar decompression surgery:
- Spinal Fusion — Two or more vertebrae are fused together to increase stability, improve strength, and remedy the adverse effects of existing deformities in the spine.
- Discectomy — A section of a damage disc is removed to relieve pressure and remedy nerve discomfort and/or pain.
- Laminectomy — A section of bone is removed from a vertebrae, whether damaged or not, to remedy nerve pain or discomfort.
It’s important to know that a combination of these three procedures may be recommended to remedy any spine issues, pain, or discomfort for the patient. Lumbar decompression surgery is usually completed while the patient is under general anaesthetic. This means you will be unconscious during the surgery.
The entire operation can take anywhere between one and three hours, depending on the extent of your spinal issues. Your doctor will give you a more definitive timeline after your spinal consultation in-office.
What To Expect After Lumbar Decompression Surgery?
Most patients are able to vacate the hospital post surgery after one to four days. The complexity of the surgery, health of the patient, and your orthopedic specialist’s recommendation will determine the length of your stay in the hospital after your surgery.
In most cases, patients are able to walk unassisted within seven days, but they are not recommended to participate in any strenuous activities for up to six weeks.
If you need to return to work, you will need at least four weeks of recovery before doing so. Granted, each patient heals at a different rate, and they’re spine, surgery, and doctor will determine the right amount of time for proper healing.
Discomfort and pain throughout the recovery process will vary between patients, depending on complexity of surgery and the health of the patient. Upon waking up from surgery, your back may feel sore and/or slightly uncomfortable. As you recover, you may experience some discomfort and/or pain, but your doctor and physical therapist, if you elect for one, will help you manage it.
What Are The Risks With Lumbar Decompression Surgery?
With any medical procedure, there are risks that you assume. Your doctor and medical staff at the ClinTech Center for Spine Health will go over these with you at some point prior to your surgery. During your spinal consultation or any time before your surgery, you are encouraged to ask questions and clarify any concerns so that you feel safe, comfortable, and confident in your decision and your orthopedic specialist’s recommendation for surgery.
When Should A Patient Seek Medical Attention Post Surgery?
Here are some common signs that you need to see your doctor as soon as possible:
- Experience a sudden shortness of breath
- Develop a severe headache
- Unable to control your bladder or urinate
- Unable to move your legs
- Increasing weakness, numbness, or pain in your back, buttocks, or legs
- Develop a high fever that exceeds 100 degrees Fahrenheit
- Discover a blood-soaked dressing
- Discover your stitches or staples have fallen out
- Experience severe redness or leaking fluid at wound site