Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Decompressive Surgery
Browse and register for related classes.
Decompressive surgery is done to relieve pressure on the spinal
cord and/or spinal nerve roots caused by age-related changes in the spine and
to treat other conditions, such as injuries to the spine, herniated discs, or
tumors. Decompressive laminectomy is the most common type of surgery done to
treat a narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis).
The lamina is the part of the vertebrae (the bones that make up the
spine) that forms a protective arch over the spinal cord. Laminectomy removes
parts of the lamina and/or thickened tissue that is narrowing the spinal
canal and squeezing the spinal cord and nerve roots. This procedure is
done through a surgical incision in the back (posterior).
In cases of cervical (neck) stenosis, the incision may be done on
the front (anterior) or back (posterior) of the neck. Surgery from the front
does not include cutting into the lamina, so the procedure is usually referred
to as a type of decompressive surgery rather than "decompressive
Reducing pressure on the nerve roots can often relieve pain and
allow resumption of normal daily activities.
Current as of:
June 30, 2016
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.
250 Pleasant Street
Concord, NH 03301
Share Feedback and Questions
View Quality Data
© 2016 Concord Hospital