What is a Laminectomy?
Laminectomy is the removal of the lamina (the back portion of the vertebra that protects the spinal cord.) Also known as decompression surgery, the procedure is designed to enlarge the spinal canal and relieve pressure on nerves that can cause severe back pain. It’s often done to relieve a condition called “spinal stenosis,” or narrowing of the spinal column.
What symptoms can lead to a laminectomy?
You may notice some or all of the following:
- Pain or numbness in one or both legs
- You may feel weakness or heaviness in your buttocks or legs
- You may have problems emptying or controlling your bladder and bowel
- You are more likely to have symptoms, or worse symptoms, when you are standing or walking
How is a laminectomy performed?
Following is an overview of the procedure. You’ll be asleep and feel no pain.
- You lie face down on the operating table
- The surgeon makes an incision (cut) in the middle of your back or neck
- Part or all of the lamina bones may be removed on both sides of your spine, along with the sharp part of your spine
- Your surgeon removes any small disk fragments, bone spurs, or other soft tissue
- The muscles and other tissues are put back in place, and the skin is sewn together
- Surgery takes 1 - 3 hours
Laminectomy surgery might be done along with spinal fusion.
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