Minimally-Invasive Lumbar Microdecompression

What is Minimally-Invasive Lumbar Microdecompression?

Minimally-invasive lumbar microdecompression surgery is a procedure that can effectively reduce pain caused by impingement of the nerves in the lower spine. The nerves of the spine are very sensitive tissues that relay messages between different parts of the body. However, this uninterrupted cord of communication is subject to the wear and tear of daily life and sometimes acute injuries such as a car accident.




A minimally-invasive lumbar microdecompression procedure is ideal for treating conditions that cause pressure on the spinal nerves, such as lumbar spinal stenosis. It will attend to the cause of the symptoms, providing pain relief as well as improved mobility in patients. A minimally-invasive lumbar decompression procedure can also benefit those patients whose pain is the result of excess ligament. Using imaging technology to guide the procedure, Dr. Lipani will insert specialized instruments through the small incision to remove the ligament and bone putting pressure on your spinal canal.

Minimally-invasive lumbar microdecompression offers several benefits over traditional surgical approaches, including:

  • Only a one-inch incision needs to be made
  • It is typically an outpatient procedure
  • Complications are rare
  • No implants are used
  • Recovery time is minimal, with patients generally returning to work and light activity in approximately one week

Minimally-Invasive Lumbar Microdecompression Procedure

To begin a minimally-invasive lumbar microdecompression surgery, the patient is given general anesthesia and positioned lying face down on the operating table. An X-ray device is used to determine the vertebral level that requires treatment. Dr. Lipani then makes a tiny incision in the middle of the back near the targeted portion of the spine.

A series of dilators are inserted to gently separate the muscle tissue with minimal disruption. Once the spine is visible, Dr. Lipani will use a special microscope and tools to remove the lamina, all bone spurs and any ligaments or disc matter that have been putting pressure on the nerve root. Dr. Lipani can then move to the other side of the vertebrae through the single incision that had been made. The same process of bone and tissue removal will take place on the opposing side if needed to decompress the nerve root there as well. Once this has been completed and Dr. Lipani can see through the microscope that the nerve tissue at that level of vertebrae is no longer compressed, the surgical tools will be withdrawn and the incision sutured closed. The entire procedure typically lasts for one hour.

There are major advantages to performing a lumbar microdecompression procedure using these minimally-invasive techniques rather than in a traditional open manner. Not only is the incision much smaller, resulting in less scarring, but fewer tissues within the back are disturbed and there is less blood loss. The muscles are separated rather than cut, which helps to preserve their integrity and minimizes bruising. Additionally, a smaller amount of bone may be removed from the vertebrae, maintaining spinal stability and avoiding the need to affix any type of hardware. The recovery period is also much more comfortable and shorter than after undergoing an open version of the same surgery.

Recovery from Minimally-Invasive Lumbar Microdecompression

After a minimally-invasive lumbar microdecompression procedure, most patients can return home the same day. Patients are encouraged to walk right away. If a patient is experiencing some pain, medication will be provided but it is typically not needed for more than two weeks.

Certain activities including lifting heavy objects, sitting upright for a long period of time and bending from the waist will be restricted for the first few weeks. A physical therapy regimen may be recommended to help restore strength and flexibility in the back. Most patients can return to work after one week if there is no physical exertion involved.

Risks of Minimally-Invasive Lumbar Microdecompression

Minimally-invasive lumbar microdecompression is considered to be a very safe procedure with few risks. However, all surgeries carry some form of risk. The complications that are, in rare instances, associated with this procedure include infection, recurrent disc herniation, damage to the nerve root and persistent pain.

» View Our Spinal Procedures Section

If you would like more information about our services or to schedule an appointment, feel free to fill out our convenient contact form or call us directly at 609-890-3400.

Hear what our Patients are Saying

I was working construction when I suddenly experienced neck pain that ran down my left arm and into my fingers. I also had numbness and tingling in my left hand. I thought ……Read More »
Richard, 36Cervical Disc Herniation Patient

View All Testimonials


What’s New

Revision Spine Surgery: Can It Be Avoided?

All surgical procedures carry some degree of risk. Due to the complex nature of spinal surgery, associated risks may be compounded compared to surgical procedures ... read more

What is Myelopathy?

Myelopathy | Princeton Neurological Surgery | Princeton NJ
Myelopathy is a spinal condition in which the spinal cord suffers significant compression. Pressure on the spinal cord should not be mistaken for compression on ... read more

Trigeminal Neuralgia May Be the Cause of Facial Pain

Trigeminal Neuralgia | Princeton Neurological Surgery | Princeton NJ
If a gentle touch to the cheek sends shockwaves of pain through the face, there is a problem worth exploring. Such an experience can be ... read more

Ask Dr. Lipani

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.