Laminectomy is surgery to remove the lamina. This is part of the bone that makes up a vertebra in the spine. Laminectomy may also be done to remove bone spurs in your spine. The procedure can take pressure off your spinal nerves or spinal cord.
Lumbar decompression; Decompressive laminectomy; Spine surgery - laminectomy; Back pain - laminectomy; Stenosis - laminectomy
Laminectomy opens up your spinal canal so your spinal nerves have more room. It may be done along with a diskectomy, foraminotomy, and spinal fusion. You will be asleep and feel no pain (general anesthesia).
You lie face down on the operating table. The surgeon makes an incision (cut) in the middle of your back or neck.
The skin, muscles, and ligaments are moved to the side. Your surgeon may use a surgical microscope to see inside your back.
Part or all of the lamina bones may be removed on both sides of your spine, along with the spinous process, the sharp part of your spine.
Your surgeon removes any small disk fragments, bone spurs, or other soft tissue.
The surgeon may also do a foraminotomy at this time to widen the opening where nerve roots travel out of the spine.
Your surgeon may do a spinal fusion to make sure your spinal column is stable after surgery.
The muscles and other tissues are put back in place. The skin is sewn together.
Surgery takes 1 to 3 hours.
Why the Procedure Is Performed
Laminectomy is often done to treat spinal stenosis. The procedure removes bones and damaged disks, and makes more room for your spinal nerve and column.
Your symptoms may be:
Pain or numbness in one or both legs.
Pain around your shoulder blade area.
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.
You and your doctor can decide when you need to have surgery for these symptoms. Spinal stenosis symptoms often become worse over time, but this may happen very slowly.
When your symptoms become more severe and interfere with your daily life or your job, surgery may help.
You should be able to drive within a week or two and resume light work after 4 weeks.
Laminectomy for spinal stenosis often provides full or some relief of symptoms.
Future spine problems are possible for all people after spine surgery. If you had laminectomy and spinal fusion, the spinal column above and below the fusion are more likely to have problems in the future.
You could have other future problems if you needed more than one kind of procedure in addition to the laminectomy (diskectomy, foraminotomy, or spinal fusion).
Bell GR. Laminotomy, laminectomy, laminoplasty, and foraminotomy. In: Steinmetz MP, Benzel EC, eds. Benzel's Spine Surgery. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 78.