DRS Protocol™ Blog

Spinal decompression surgery is used to treat compressed nerves in the lower spine and is generally only recommended when non-surgical spine decompression therapy hasn’t helped the patient. The surgery aims to improve symptoms such as persistent pain and numbness in the legs caused by pressure on the nerves in the spine for conditions such as spinal stenosis, slipped disc and sciatica, spinal injuries, and metastatic spinal cord compression.

Spinal decompression surgery is usually performed under general anesthetic which means you will not be awake during the surgery. Patients may be able to walk and leave the hospital after one to four days, but more strenuous activities will need to be avoided for about six weeks.

Although spinal decompression surgery is generally effective, some people continue to have symptoms after surgery, or develop symptoms again within a few years of surgery because of a weakened spine, another slipped disc or the formation of new bone or thickened ligament putting pressure on your spinal cord. Scarring around the nerves can also develop. Unfortunately, repeat operations have a higher risk of complications than first-time operations.

What are the risks of spinal decompression surgery, you ask? Although spinal decompression surgery is often successful, like all types of surgery it carries a risk of complications, which could include:

  • Infection at the site of the incision, or in rare cases an infection elsewhere.
  • A blood clot develops in a leg vein [deep vein thrombosis (DVT)]. In rare cases, the clot can dislodge and travel to the lungs, causing a pulmonary embolism.
  • A dural tear (damage to the spinal nerves or cord), resulting in continuing symptoms, numbness or weakness in one or both legs, or in rare cases some degree of paralysis.
  • Leakage of cerebrospinal fluid can be caused by damage to the lining of the nerve.
  • Nerve injury and paralysis is uncommon, but serious complications that can occur during surgery caused by bleeding inside the spinal column, leaking of spinal fluid, damage to the blood vessels that supply the spinal cord with blood, and damage to the nerves.
  • As with all surgeries, there is the risk of death during or after the procedure.

Need to know more about what are the risks of spinal decompression surgery? Call McKim Chiropractic and talk to a one of our licensed chiropractors about your concerns. We offer the DRS Protocol™, a non-surgical spine decompression therapy to relieve back pain associated with spinal and disc problems. Our licensed and certified staff is committed to helping the residents of Nampa, ID, and Caldwell, ID, achieve their optimum level of health!

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