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Lumbar Laminectomy

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Procedure description

A laminectomy is a surgical procedure that involves removal of the lamina. The lamina is part of the vertebra and serves the purpose of shielding the spinal canal. A laminectomy can also be called a “decompression” surgery. In spine surgery, pain relief most often comes by removing portions of bone, ligament, or other soft tissue that is causing irritation of an exiting nerve root or the spinal cord itself. The vertebral body itself is made up of two lamina and with a laminectomy procedure both lamina will be removed. Sometimes, removing only one lamina is necessary to achieve decompression and this is often referred to as a hemilaminectomy. When performing laminectomy a surgeon will often remove bone spurs and overgrown ligament that can also be impinging upon a nerve or the spinal cord.

When to Consider

Laminectomy is normally considered when all conservative measures have been exhausted in treatment of chronic low back pain and quality of life is being impacted significantly. Symptoms you may be experiencing can include: weakness or atrophy in your lower extremities, burning sensations, numbness, tingling, and pain that is either local to your back and/or radiating into your legs. It is important to remember that nerve and spinal cord compression can manifest in symptoms in a variety of ways. If you did not see your specific symptoms listed that does not mean that you might not benefit from laminectomy. If you have been diagnosed with sciatica, spinal stenosis, foraminal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, bone spurs, or spondylolisthesis – you may be considered for laminectomy.

What to expect in surgery

Most laminectomy procedures can be done through minimally invasive outpatient approaches. This means a small incision with minimal time in the operating room. When decompression is achieved and patients awake from their procedure they typically spend a short amount of time in immediate recovery and will be leaving the facility for the day.

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