Minimally Invasive Surgery

The various decompression surgical methods can be divided into anterior decompressions (from the front) of the spine verus posterior decompressions (from the back) of the spine.

Cervical Treatments

Anterior Cervical Discectomy
An anteriorcervical discectomy is the most common surgical procedure to treat damaged cervical discs or to alleviate nerve pinching. Its goal is to relieve pressure on the nerve roots or on the spinal cord by removing the ruptured disc.
Anterior Cervical Corpectomy
When the cervical disease encompasses more than just the disc space, the surgeon may recommend removal of the vertebral body as well as the disc spaces at either end, to completely decompress the cervical canal.
Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy
A posterior cervical approach can be performed to alleviate nerve pinching. A laminotomy (partial removal of the lamina) and foraminotomy (opening of the foramen where the nerve exists) can be done for disc herniation if the herniation pinches the nerve root or if there is pressure on the nerve from overgrowth of bone (a bone spur or osteophyte).
Posterior Cervical Laminectomy
Compression of the spinal cord in the neck can be treated with a posterior laminectomy. The objective of this procedure is to remove the lamina (and spinous process) to give the spinal cord more room.
Posterior Cervical Laminaplasty
If a posterior laminectomy alone is done (see above), there is a post-operative risk of developing instability that may lead to pain and deformity. To avoid the above problems that can result with lamina removal, instead the lamina can be reconstructed.

Lumbar Treatments

Lumbar Discectomy
A lumbar discectomy may be suggested by the surgeon. In a lumbar discectomy, a small portion of the bone over the nerve root and/or disc material from under the nerve root is removed to relieve neural impingement and provide more room for the nerve to heal.
Lumbar Laminectomy
Compression of the spinal cord in the low back can be treated with a posterior laminectomy. The objective of this procedure is to remove the lamina (and spinous process) to give the spinal cord more room.