L5-S1 nerve compression is a very painful condition and is characterised by spasms and bouts of pain. The problem arises when there is a herniated or a prolapsed disc that intrudes into the spinal column leading to the most common nerve pinch or in some cases pinching of essential blood vessels. The symptoms may start with tingling sensations at the extremities, which may worsen to numbness and even paralysis. In many cases it is the extreme pain at certain angles that is the trigger.
The L5 and the other vertebrae are characterised by the segment of bone which is separated by discs. These discs have a rough outer portion called the annulus which forms a ring around the gelatinous inner portion. It os this gel that acts as a cushion between the vertebrae and deaden the impacts while affording flexion for the vertebral column. The fibrous outer ring of the disc, or the annulus, is fibrous and extremely tough. However, over the passage of time, with ageing, this ring may be the worse for wear and may serrate or give way.
When this happens in the L5 and the other vertebrae, the gelatinous inner may get pushed into the spinal cavity and may come into contact with the nerve roots, blood vessels and even the spinal column. As a result the patient will experience extreme pain, numbness or tingling and may even have paralysis of the lower limbs in several cases. If we release the portion of the prolapsed or excluded disc, and alleviate the nerves from physical contact, thereby improving the patient’s status from distress to normalcy.
The surgeon makes an incision typical of minimally invasive surgical technique through a keyhole incision where the guides are inserted along with the endoscope and the surgeon performs the procedure with minimal tissue distress. The procedure of decompression of the L5-S1 nerve would mean the fusing of the vertebrae. Grafts for bone shaping are used to retain the structural integrity of the vertebral column and to also afford flexibility after the procedure.