Decompression, spinal canal

Surgery to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or a nerve root emerging from it (see microdiscectomy). Pressure may have various causes, including a disc prolapse, a tumour or abscess of the spinal cord, or a tumour, abscess or fracture of the vertebrae. Any of these conditions can cause weakness or paralysis of the limbs and loss of bladder control. To treat major disc prolapses and tumours, a laminectomy (removal of the bony arches of 1 or more vertebrae) to expose the affected part of the cord or nerve roots may be performed. Recovery after treatment depends on the severity and duration of the pressure, the success of the surgery in relieving the pressure, and whether any damage is sustained by the nerves during the operation.


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