Also known as lumbar spinal decompression or partial laminectomy
Spinal Stenosis, neurogenic claudication, lateral recess stenosis, central canal stenosis, foraminal stenosis, facet joint cyst.
Special preparation for surgery
stop all blood thinning medications including aspirin, warfarin, clopidogrel.
Stop HRT and oral contraceptives. Stop some herbal medicines.
You will be advised when to stop these medications.
Admission to hospital
on day of surgery
Prone (lying on the front)
Details of operation
A midline incision is made over the vertebra to be decompressed. The spine is approached by dissecting muscles and ligaments from the posterior bony arch. Using a high speed burr, osteotomes, spinal nibblers and rongeurs bony and ligamentous material is removed to expose the dura ( fine sac containing nerves and spinal fluid) More ligament and bone is carefully removed to allow expansion of the nerve canal and better flow of blood to the nerves.
Length of surgery
1 – 1.5 hours for a single level, 2 -3 hours for multiple levels
Urinary catheter required
For longer operations
Post-operative drain required
Post-operative iv fluids ( drip)
Yes for fluids and occasionally for patient controlled analgesia
Yes, aspirin, TED Stockings, calf or foot pumps
Mobilization after surgery
Within 24 hours
Length of stay in hospital
Post hospital recovery
2 weeks resting at home followed by 2 – 4 weeks of increasing daily activities and then further 2 weeks of returning to normal activities.
Usually dissolvable suture
Plastic glue dressing
4 – 6 weeks post operation
Return to driving
2 -4 weeks
Return to work
4 – 6 weeks