1 What is a Laminectomy?

A surgery that creates space by removing the lamina which is the back part of the vertebra that covers our spinal canal is called laminectomy.

This surgery is also called as decompression surgery. To relieve the pressure on the nerves and spinal cord, this procedure enlarges your spinal canal.

The pressure can happen in people with arthritis in their spines that are mostly caused by bony overgrowths.

When other treatments failed to relieve symptoms such as medication, injections or physical therapy, a laminectomy is used.

2 Reasons for Procedure

Here are the most common reasons to undergo a laminectomy procedure.

When you have bony overgrowths in your spinal canal, it narrows the space in your nerves and spinal cord.

You may experience weakness, pain or numbness in your legs and arms because of this pressure.

Your doctor may suggest laminectomy if:

  • you experience loss of bowel or bladder control
  • you have muscle numbness or weakness that makes walking or standing difficult
  • if physical therapy or medication failed to relieve the symptoms
  • as part of a surgery to treat a herniated spinal disk

3 Potential Risks

Laminectomy surgery is safe but has potential risks such as infection, bleeding, spinal fluid leak, nerve injury, and blood clots.

4 Preparing for your Procedure

In order to prepare for the laminectomy, your surgeon will advise you not to eat or drink before the surgery.

He will give specific information regarding what types of medication you can use before the surgery.

5 What to Expect

Here’s what you can expect before, during, and after your laminectomy surgery.

There will be a medical team who will monitor your blood oxygen, blood pressure, and heart rate. Your surgeon will first give you anesthesia so you would not feel anything.

Then he will make a cut in your back over the affected vertebrae to remove the lamina. Your doctor will remove the herniated portion of the disk or diskectomy if this procedure is part of another surgical treatment for herniated disk.

You will undergo spinal fusion to steady your spine if you have a curvature in your spine or if one of your vertebrae has slipped over another, bone grafts are used to connect two or more vertebra in this procedure.

Your surgeon will then close all incisions using stitches or staples. The medical will still monitor you after the surgery. You can ask your surgeon for pain relievers if you feel any pain or discomfort in the incision site.

To improve your flexibility and strength, he will suggest physical therapy after the procedure. He will tell you to avoid activities such as stooping, bending and lifting for several months.

You may return to your normal activities or work within a few months.

6 Procedure Results

If you do not understand your laminectomy results, consult with your doctor.

The majority of people who had this surgery improves in their symptoms but as they grow old the benefits of laminectomy may lessen over time.

Symptoms might come back anytime because this procedure cannot stop the buildup from osteoarthritis.

Laminectomy is more likely to improve leg pain caused by a compressed nerve than back pain.