What Is a Laminectomy?

A minimally invasive laminectomy is used to create more room in your spinal canal so that there is space for your spinal nerves. It may be performed in addition to a discectomy, foraminotomy, or spinal fusion and, in some cases, it may also be used to remove bone spurs.

A laminectomy is most often done to relieve the effects of spinal stenosis. The procedure is performed as a minimally invasive surgery to help preserve tissue and to leave more of the muscle intact.

With this surgery from Orlando Orthopaedic Center, patients can typically go home the same day with recovery lasting three to four weeks. A majority of patients treated at Orlando Orthopaedic Center report significant improvement in their condition.

What Happens During a Laminectomy?

The spine specialist will make an incision in your back over the affected vertebrae and move the muscles away from your spine as needed. Small instruments are used to remove the appropriate affected lamina bone.

If the procedure is being performed as part of surgical treatment for a herniated disc, the spine specialist may also remove the herniated portion of the disc.

Some patients may also undergo spinal fusion to stabilize the spine and receive a special implant that will help strengthen the bones in the lower back, but not restrict motion in the same way a fusion does.

Who is a Candidate for a Laminectomy?

The procedure may treat pain caused by spinal stenosis and other related spinal conditions. Ideal candidates for this procedure may have a variety of symptoms; however, candidates for laminectomy should have one or more of the following:

  • Acute or chronic pain in the back or neck that is dull, throbbing, sharp, deep, shooting, or radiating
  • Sciatica pain that radiates from the back down to the buttocks, thighs, calves, feet, and/or toes
  • Pain in the neck that is felt into the shoulders, arms, hands, and/or fingers
  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling in the extremities
  • Trouble standing, difficulty walking, or extreme pain when sitting for long periods of time
  • History of attempting more than one conservative methods of treatment that failed to relieve pain or heal the spinal condition

Be sure to consider all risks and benefits of spine surgery before making your decision.

What Should I Expect Following a Laminectomy?

Patients are usually able to get out of bed within a few hours after surgery. However, you will be instructed to move your back only carefully and comfortably. Patients are able to return home when their medical condition is stable.

Recovery time will depend on the extent of the surgery and personal situation. In general, after a minor laminectomy, most are usually able to return to light activity within a few weeks. If they also had a spinal fusion with their laminectomy, recovery time will be longer.  Heavier work and activities should wait two to three months.

It is imperative that you complete physical therapy as designated by the doctor to help ensure the best possible outcome from your laminectomy.