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Lumbar Decompression, Also Known as Low Back Decompression

Lumbar decompression is an all-encompassing name for several surgical techniques designed to alleviate the pain that is caused by neural impingement, or pinched nerves in the spine. To help decompress the spinal cord as well as the affected spinal nerves, lumbar decompression procedures remove either herniated disc material, a portion of the lamina bone, or both.

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Lumbar Decompression Procedures

The two most common types of lumbar decompression procedures are lumbar laminectomy, and microdiscectomy.

A lumbar laminectomy is typically performed to deal with lumbar spinal stenosis. In this procedure a portion of the lamina bone is removed to give the spinal cord more room to float backwards away from the spinal nerves. This reduces back and leg pain as well as tingling, numbness or weakness in the legs. A lumbar laminectomy may also involve the removal of herniated disc material.


A microdiscectomy is a procedure in which a surgeon will removed herniated disc material in order to relieve compressed spinal nerves. A small part of the facet joint may also be removed. Microdiscectomy lumbar decompression is often used to relieve the leg pain, numbness and tingling associated with sciatica. Patients who undergo microdiscectomy often report immediate relief of leg pain upon waking from the procedure.

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