Spinal Decompression Surgery

Spinal decompression surgery is the term used to refer to various spinal interventions intended to treat the problems and relieve symptoms associated with pressure, or compression, on the spinal nerves, nerve roots and/or the spinal cord.

What Is a Spinal Decompression Surgery?

Spinal decompression surgery is a procedure intended to treat spinal conditions that place pressure or compression on the spinal cord or the nerve roots. A spinal decompression surgery can be anything from a common decompression surgery to advanced spinal interventions such as a laminotomy or a discectomy.

Why Is a Spinal Decompression Surgery Done?

The primary purpose of a spinal decompression surgery is to relieve the symptoms caused by pressure or compression. Any condition, such as a bulging disc, thickened joints, bone spurs, or even a slipped disc can narrow the spinal canal and compress the spinal nerves, which can result in irritation, pain, weakness and can lead to more serious problems such as myelopathy or cauda equina syndrome. Common conditions that could be treated with a spinal decompression surgery include:

How Is It Performed?

Spinal decompression surgery is the general term to refer to various surgical procedures. The way the surgeries are performed will depend on the technique used for decompression.


A discectomy is a decompression surgery that involves removing the portion of the disc that’s out of its proper place and pressing on nearby nerve roots, to provide symptom relief.

Laminotomy / Laminectomy

A laminectomy is a decompression surgery in which small sections of the bony arches of the spinal canal, also known as the lamina, are removed. The procedure is performed to relieve pressure in the area and give access to the spinal canal.

Foraminotomy / Foraminectomy

A foraminotomy is a decompression surgery that widens the space for the nerve roots in the spinal canal to exit. Both decompression surgeries are performed by removing tissue or bone that’s blocking the opening that nerves exit through.

Partial Facetectomy

A partial facetectomy is a decompression surgery that removes part of the facet that is pressing on nerves and/or nerve roots.

Partial Pediculectomy

A partial pediculectomy is a decompression surgery in which a small part of the pedicle that is pressing on the nerves or nerve roots is removed. Pedicles are located on each side on the vertebral body, bridging the front and back sections of each vertebra. A pediculectomy is performed to reduce symptoms caused by the thickening of ligamentum flavum (the yellow-colored ligament that connects the vertebrae in the spine).

Spinal Decompression Surgery Recovery Time

Recovery time can vary depending on the extent of the surgery, and the type of decompression surgery performed. The recovery time for The Bonati Spine Procedures is short and most patients are walking the same day and back to everyday activities within days.

At The Bonati Spine Institute, the success rate of a spinal decompression surgery at resolving the symptoms caused by nerve and/or nerve root compression is very high.

Before Surgery

Before any spinal decompression surgery, doctors need to be sure their patients are in their best physical and mental health. This is why, in many cases before surgery doctors may ask patients to discontinue the use of medications and supplements such as:

  • Muscle relaxants
  • Nerve pain medications
  • Analgesics
  • Anti-coagulants
  • Anti-depressants
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

During Surgery

A spinal decompression surgery at The Bonati Spine Institute is done under local anesthesia, in conjunction with conscious IV sedation. Thanks to this approach, the patient can communicate with the surgical team during surgery and provide feedback as the pain is alleviated.

During spinal decompression surgery, the surgical team may perform specific motion and symptom-checking tests to make sure that symptoms have been successfully treated.

After Surgery

After a spinal decompression surgery, patients are moved to a recovery room for resting. The Bonati Spine Procedures allow for minimal downtime and don’t require a hospital stay, which means the recovery time is shorter than usual. However, after any spinal procedure, patients are expected to rest, maintain a healthy diet, avoid alcohol and smoking, and follow all post-surgery instructions provided by the surgical team.