Lumbar Decompression – Back and leg pain appears 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.

Lumbar DecompressionWhat is lumbar decompression?

Basically, lumbar decompression enables the surgeon to reach 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, in order to expose the compressed nerve root(s). Finally, the elimination of the source of compression permits to alleviate pressure.

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, he shaves away part of it to expose a thick ligament that covers the spinal canal.

Entering the Spinal Canal

Then the surgeon reaches the spinal canal by an opening of the aforementioned ligament. As a consequence, the compressed nerves are now visible. This allows identifying the cause of the compression, which may be a bulging, ruptured/herniated disc, or a bone spur.

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. Surgeons use absorbable suture material. However, we counsel the removal of the suture at 2 weeks by assisting your GP surgery.

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 hour after surgery.

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

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