Spinal Decompression

Minimally Invasive and Complex Spine Neurosurgeon, Neurosurgery & Complex Spine & Complex Brain Neurosurgeon located in Houston and San Antonio, TX and Upstate New York, Syracuse, NY
Spinal Decompression

Spinal Decompression services offered in Houston and San Antonio, TX and Upstate New York, Syracuse, NY

Conditions like spinal stenosis that narrow or block the spinal canal can cause painful, often disabling nerve compression. Award-winning neurosurgeon Yan Michael Li, MD, PhD, at the Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Institute, is an expert in spinal decompression surgery to relieve nerve compression symptoms. With Dr. Li’s help, you can regain mobility and recover from long-term neck and back pain. Call the Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Institute’s office in San Antonio or Houston, Texas, or Utica, New York, today or book an appointment online to benefit from first-class spinal decompression.

Spinal Decompression Q & A

What is spinal decompression?

Spinal decompression surgery relieves pressure on compressed nerves in your back. This pressure is caused by spinal stenosis, where herniated discs (damaged shock absorbent pads between the vertebrae) and other problems narrow the spinal canal.

These spine abnormalities squash the nerves exiting your spinal cord and extending throughout your body. Nerve compression causes pain, tingling, weakness, and numbness in your neck (cervical radiculopathy) or lower back (lumbar radiculopathy).

Spinal decompression removes the bone or tissue pressing on the nerves, relieving radiculopathy symptoms.


Why might I need spinal decompression?

Surgery isn’t the first treatment choice for spinal conditions. Most patients with radiculopathy do well with conservative treatments (rest, physical therapy, and medication) or minimally invasive procedures like epidural steroid injections.

Dr. Li might suggest spinal decompression if these treatments don’t deliver sufficient symptom relief after several months. You could benefit from surgery if your condition is disabling and causes pain that you can’t manage any other way.


What does lumbar decompression surgery involve?

The Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Institute offers several decompression surgeries, including:


Discectomy involves removing a herniated disc. With microdiscectomy, Dr. Li takes only the damaged part of the disc. He often performs anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). Dr. Li accesses your spine through the front of your neck, removes the damaged disc, then fuses (permanently joins) the vertebrae on either side for stability.


A corpectomy is similar to a discectomy but treats more severe cases. Dr. Li removes an entire damaged vertebra from the spine.


The lamina bones form the back of your vertebrae. A laminectomy removes the lamina. An alternative is a laminotomy, where Dr. Li removes only part of the lamina.

Spinal decompression is usually an outpatient procedure or requires only an overnight hospital stay because Dr. Li uses minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS). With MISS, he makes small incisions, using retractors to part the muscles or an endoscope (tiny lighted camera on a flexible tube) to view the surgery site.


How long will it take to recover from spinal decompression?

Recovery from minimally invasive spinal decompression is much faster than after open surgery. Many patients return to work (depending on their job) and other activities a week or two after the procedure. But you might need several months to regain the fitness and range of motion you had before surgery.

Physical therapy and rehabilitation help heal and prevent your muscles and connective tissues from shortening.

Call the Minimally Invasive Brain and Spine Institute today or book an appointment online to learn how spinal decompression can help with your back pain.