Removal of part of the back parts (lamina) of the vertebra. This is done through an incision in the midline of the lower back. Often it is not necessary to remove all the bone but just the ligaments and a little bit of the bone (intersegmental decompression). The latter can be done through a small incision.
Decompression of a nerve root and the lumbar canal, which contains the nerves in lumbar canal stenosis. It may also be done in cases of compression from infection (epidural abscess), tumours or trauma. It is part of the access in operations on the spinal cord or cauda equina. The operation is not aimed at improving back pain.
Acute: Bleeding, Infection, cerebrospinal fluid leak, neurological deficit including paralysis, incontinence (no bowel or bladder control), no improvement of symptoms, late instability if bone and ligaments are excessively removed. Overall, the risks, in particular the very serious risks are very small (<5%).
24-48 hours after operation in majority of cases