A laminectomy is a surgical procedure that your doctor may recommend to relieve pressure on your spinal cord by removing the lamina. The laminae make up part of the vertebral arches that protect your spine. By removing this component, your doctor can also remove any bone spurs that might be adding to the issue.
When spinal structures like the lamina are adding additional pressure on your nerve roots and vertebrae because of age or a degenerative condition, many side effects can impact your life, including:
This procedure is usually a last resort measure when your symptoms interfere with your everyday life and activities.
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One of the most common reasons an individual may need to undergo this procedure involves spinal stenosis. This degenerative condition narrows the spinal canal passageways and causes compression on the spinal cord. This pinching effect can cause symptoms throughout your entire body, and depending on what area of your spine needs treatment, your doctor may recommend one of the below laminectomy procedures:
Relieving compression of spinal nerves and surrounding tissues is not the only reason to undergo a laminectomy. Patients who have a vascular deformity, tumors, or even a tethered spinal cord condition may find this surgery perfectly addresses their medical condition.
Like most spinal surgeries, you will be put under general anesthesia so that you are unconscious and unable to feel any pain or discomfort while the surgeon performs this procedure.
The incision made will be determined by the location of the vertebra needing removal of its lamina. Your surgeon will need to carefully move aside muscle and tissue to expose the bone structures that form the roof of your spinal canal. From this point, your surgeon can determine exactly how much of this bone needs removal, and whether from one or both sides of the vertebra. It’s not uncommon for some of the ligaments that connect to these bones to also be removed.
In addition to removing pieces of the lamina protecting your spinal cord, your surgeon may also need to shave down joint facets located between your vertebrae. Many times these can cause compression issues over time.
You might have a couple of procedures performed while your surgeon has part of your spine exposed and can get a clearer picture of the issues at hand. A foraminotomy, where the small nerve passageways called foramina get surgically enlarged, may be helpful for your condition.
Typically, the small amount of bone removed in a laminectomy will not have a significant effect on the stability of your spine, but this is not always the case. Conditions like arthritis and degenerative disc disease may already have destabilized your back, and your surgeon might opt to fuse some of your affected vertebrae to increase spinal strength.
Once your surgeon has completed all the necessary procedures, you can expect the use of dissolvable stitches to close up your incision. Depending on any additional treatments performed in addition to your laminectomy, you may stay in the hospital anywhere from one to three days afterward. You can expect your doctor to want you on your feet and walking the day after your operation, and then schedule a follow-up four to six weeks post-surgery.
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With the advancements of medical science, patients suffering from debilitating back and neck pain due to compression may find relief through a laminectomy procedure when all other options haven’t helped. Even better is that some individuals may be good candidates for a minimally invasive laminectomy, which means faster healing time and less recovery pain.
At NJ Spine and Orthopedic, our board-certified surgeons and medical experts use state-of-the-art equipment to achieve quality care, faster recovery times, and pain-free living for all our patients. If you have questions about this procedure and wonder if it may be a possible option for your spinal condition, contact our office online or call (866) 272-9271. You can also use our free Treatment Finder tool. We are here to help you get your life back and get you on the road to healing quickly and safely.
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Effective pain relief; less scarring— a postage stamp-sized incision (less than an inch in length) is often all that it takes to eliminate your pain.
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