Last updated: May 22, 2020

Endoscopic decompression procedures are performed in order to remove pressure that is placed on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots located in the spinal column. Compression in the spine can be caused by a number of reasons producing a condition called Stenosis. Lumbar stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal (where spinal nerves pass) is narrowed and causes symptoms by compressing  the spinal nerves.  Stenosis can be acquired or congenital.

  • Congenital Stenosis can result from particular diseases  but many people are born with a narrow spinal canal. It is not until degeneration starts to occur that they become symptomatic.
  • Acquired Stenosis is due to spinal degeneration. As the discs in our body begin to degenerate there is a narrowing in the disc height. Bulging and herniated discs may develop along with bony spurs. Facet joint become compressed producing bony spurs. Ligaments in the spine may also begin to thicken. All of these changes and structures may cause narrowing of the spinal canal and intervertebral foramen where the spinal nerves exit. These foramen or openings are found on all levels of the spine.

Some spinal conditions that can cause bone or tissue to enter into the foramina include:

  • Bulging discs
  • Herniated discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Bone spurs
  • Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Thickening of Spinal Ligaments
  • Facet Joint Arthritis and spurring
  • Over growth of facet joint capsule
  • Spinal Arthritis or Spondylosis

Freeman Spine and Pain Institute can treat all of these conditions by an endoscopic decompression procedure. Freeman Spine and Pain Institute specialize in a number of minimally invasive endoscopic decompression procedures. During the procedure, a small incision is made so that the doctor can insert a tube and tiny camera into the patients spinal canal. The doctor then inserts instruments, including a laser and an irrigation tube, allowing the doctor to remove bone, ligament, and/or disc tissue widening and clearing the spinal canal. This in turn takes the pressure off, decompressing the nerve.

The endoscopic decompression procedure is considered a minimally invasive procedure. It requires a small incision and unlike more invasive laminectomy procedures used for decompression of a Stenosis most posterior spinal structures are left intact. This minimizes postoperative weakening of the spine resulting in a shorter rehabilitation and  faster recovery of function.


This page was published on Jul 20, 2017, modified on May 22, 2020 by Dr. Freeman (Pain Management Specialist) of Redefine Healthcare
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