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Decompression? I'm confused...

fishinwidow98ffishinwidow98 Posts: 54
edited 07/20/2012 - 5:25 PM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi y'all! Hope the heat isn't making your healing processes impossible!!

I had my EMG done last month and got the results Thurs. Apparently there is extensive damage to my L4 & L5 nerves which is though to be the root of the intense leg & hip pain I've been experiencing. My orthopedic surgeon wants to go in and clear out the scar tissue that is causing those nerves to be "stuck", & while I think that that's kind of a exercise in futility I am definitely looking to try it & praying for success. My question is, the info that was written on the paperwork regarding the surgery says that I am having a spinal decompression which looks different to me than what I was thinking he was going to be doing. What can I expect? I thought the decompression was more for disc injuries and this is an area that's already fused so I'm scratching my head. I'd ask my doctor but I won't have a opportunity before surgery & he's difficult to reach. I don't know when the surgery will happen but he said as soon as the work comp people approve it we're going in so a week or 2, 3 tops.

Any ideas? Tips? He said to bring my brace with me (the same one I got when I was fused) & said I'd be in the hospital overnight at least so is this a more painful surgery than the hardware removal? I had a irrigation/debridement done in November to remove a chunk of gauze that a wound nurse had left in my incision and that was very painful but due to infection concerns they couldn't inject meds at the incision site. That was very painful... Just scared, don't know what to expect!!

Try to stay cool y'all!!

:SS :-SS


  • I had what was called a decompression along with my fusion a couple of years ago.

    The decompression part was to remove the lamina (laminectomy) some of the facets (he called this wide undercutting of the facets) and the disc. I would imagine that a decompression is removing anything that is pressing on nerves. This, in your case, could just be scar tissue.

    My surgeon told me that people always focus on the fusion part of the operation, but in his opinion the decompression is the most invasive part. Mind you, he was talking about removing a lot of bone and the disc.

    I would definately contact your surgeon's office and ask them to find out and let you know exactly what it will involve (if you want to know) and how long the recovery will be. Even if you can't speak to the surgeon, there must be someone who could, and ask the questions for you.

    I hope that you manage to get some answers that will help to calm your fears.

    Take care
  • I've honestly kind of gotten to the point where I just want it done!! I trust my surgeon implicitly so if he says this will at least help the leg pain, I'm in. I did talk to his nurse. Both the doc and the nurse agree that I will never be free from the back pain but I'm open to fix whatever they can possible fix right now if it will get me to a more managable point!!

    Thanks so much for your reply!
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