1. Decompression surgery is indicated when tissue presses on a nerve causing symptoms
  2. Goal of decompression is to remove the abnormal tissue this is pressing on nerves to eliminate compression and relieve symptoms
  3. Common decompression surgeries
    • Laminectomy
      • Removal of the lamina, the bone that covers the back of the spinal canal
        • Performed through an incision on the back
      • Includes removal of overgrown ligament (ligamentum flavum) and bone (the facet joint)
      • Variations include
        • Laminotomy - removing only a portion of the lamina to decompress the spinal canal
        • Hemilaminectomy - removing only one side (right or left) of the lamina
        • Hemilaminotomy - creating a hole in lamina on one side of the spinal canal
          • Most common way of accessing a lumbar disc space (for lumbar discectomy)
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    • Discectomy
      • Removal of an intervertebral disc or portion of the disc
      • Lumbar discectomy
        • Often involves only removal of herniated fragments if disc
        • Performed though incision on the back
        • Can include complete discectomy, often preceding fusion procedure
        • Is often performed with hemilaminotomy (see above)
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      • Cervical discectomy
        • Requires removal of most of the disc
        • Performed through an incision on the front of the neck
        • Because nearly the entire disc is removed, requires reconstruction
          • Most commonly with fusion
          • Often with disc replacement surgery (also known as arthroplasty or artificial disc surgery)
  4. Less common decompression surgeries
    • Foramenotomy
      • Removal of bone and tissue to increase the size of the neural foramen
    • Facetectomy
      • Removal of the facet joint, or a portion of the joint
    • Corpectomy (also known as vertebrectomy)
      • Removal of the vertebral body, or a substantial portion of the vertebral body
      • Most often perfrormed when the vertebral body is damaged due to fracture, tumor, or infection