July 16, 2015

Endoscopically Assisted Spinal Decompression

Far advanced from traditional open spine surgery, our endoscopically assisted spinal decompression treatment uses a small incision to treat the underlying cause of Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), resulting in minimized muscle and tissue damage, reduced bleeding, and faster recovery. Invented in the early 1950’s, this revolutionary procedure uses a needle-guided endoscope and Laser and Radiofrequency (RF) technology to visualize and repair the damaged disk from the inside. Our outpatient procedure allows most patients to go home the same day.



Lumbar Spinal Stenosis (LSS) is a degenerative condition of the spinal joints that leads to a narrowing of the spinal canal and pressure on the nerves. This pressure often results in leg pain and other symptoms, which can severely limit your activity.


In Endoscopically Assisted Spinal Decompression, we use advanced technology (such as radiofrequency, coblation, ultrasound, electro-thermal energy, or laser) to target and selectively remove portions of a bulging disc, bone or other fragments that compress your spinal nerves or spinal cord.

Time in the operating room is about 90 minutes per vertebrae level. Most patients undergo local anesthesia, while cervical patients require general anesthesia. Using advanced imaging technology called fluoroscopy, we locate and enter the disc with an endoscope, and the material compressing the nerves is removed. We use additional technologies (namely a radio frequency electrode and YAG: Holmium laser) to shrink the inner disc tissue and outside rim of the disc, and control any bleeding.


This type of surgery allows most patients to be in and out of our surgical center in one day, with your disc beginning to heal at about six weeks. Immediately after surgery, expect to feel a bit of discomfort in the surgical area. However, as this surgery shrinks the material compressing the nerve, you should soon experience decreased pain, numbness, and/or weakness. The timeline for pain reduction is patient-specific, and some may experience full relief immediately while it may take up to several months for others. Within two weeks after surgery, come back into the office for suture removal and wound care, or if you are out of state, follow up with your primary care provider for this. Your post-operative care plan is crucial to proper recovery, so please remain on bed rest and refrain from beginning physical or chiropractic therapy until recommended by your surgeon.


Though our facility has a 0% infection rate and uses techniques that result in far less risks than traditional open-back surgery, all surgeries come with risks. Risks include infection, injury to the local nerves, unusual nerve sensations, continued pain, disc tears and local muscle bruising. Segmental instability (unstable backbone) may require additional surgery to repair.


If you’re interested in learning more about endoscopically assisted spinal decompression surgery, call the Spine Institute Northwest at (425) 486-1000