What is a laminectomy?
Laminectomy is a surgery that relieves compression on the spinal cord. This involves partial or complete removal of the lamina, which is a part of the vertebral bone. Laminectomy is also used to widen the spinal canal and relieve pressure on the spinal cord, or to remove bone spurs that compress nerve roots in your spine.
Lower back or neck pain can cause mild to severe back pain, numbness or weakness in the legs, difficulty walking, and difficulty controlling bowel movements. Back or neck pain that interferes with normal daily activities may need Laminectomy. Laminectomy is also known as posterior spinal decompression. Your doctor will recommend laminectomy for the following conditions:
- To relieve the effects of spinal stenosis (narrowing of the canal)
- When the disc wears off
- swelling of the bones and ligaments
- Arthritis of the spine
- A congenital defect, or abnormal growth of the spine
- Paget’s disease of the bones
- Achondroplasia, which is a type of dwarfism
- Laminectomy can ease pressure from your spinal nerves or spinal cord that may be caused by a traumatic injury
- To treat slipped disc in the spine.
- A tumour in the spine
- Bone spurs are abnormal growths of the bone on a vertebra, which leads to compression of the spinal cord and nerves
- Degenerative disc disease is a breakdown of the cushioning discs between the vertebrae, which leads to compression of the spinal cord and nerves
- Herniated spinal disc is the displacement of the cushioning disc between the vertebrae
- Sciatica is a pain that runs down the buttock and leg due to compression of a nerve in the lower back
- Spondylosis which is also called spinal osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear on the discs in your spine
How Is a Laminectomy Performed?
Laminectomy is performed under general anaesthesia or spinal anaesthesia through open surgery or a microlaminectomy (minimally invasive procedure). The surgical team will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels throughout the procedure.
Step 1 – Your surgeon makes a small incision, or cut, in the middle of your back or neck and moves your skin, muscles, and ligaments to the side to get a better view
Step 2 – Your surgeon removes part of all the lamina bones on your spine
Step 3 – Your surgeon removes bone spurs or broken or loose disc fragments
Step 4 – Your surgeon will also correct any misaligned, fractured, or weak vertebrae by fusing two or more vertebrae to stabilize the spine. (spinal fusion)
Step 5 – The incision will be closed with stitches and covered with sterile bandages.
What happens after a Laminectomy?
After the surgery, your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are monitored. Your pain will be controlled with medications and your doctor may recommend physical therapy after a laminectomy to improve your strength and flexibility. But if you also have a spinal fusion, your recovery time will be longer.
What are the Dos & Don’ts after Laminectomy?
- you must avoid strenuous activity, heavy lifting and driving
- you must be careful when climbing stairs
- you must gradually increase your activities, such as walking
- While showering, you must not scrub over the incision site.
- Do must not apply any lotions or creams near the incision.
- you must avoid bending over or twisting the spine
What are the complications after Laminectomy?
The possible complications may include:
- Muscle, ligament, or nerve damage
- Unsuccessful treatment, which can lead to recurring symptoms after surgery
- Return of back pain, particularly after the spinal fusion
- Having an infection in the surgical site or vertebral bones
- A cerebrospinal fluid leakage due to a tear of the dura mater, which is the membrane that surrounds the spinal cord
- Blood clot in the legs can lead to a pulmonary embolism
- Breathing difficulties
- An infection in the surgical site
- Blood loss
- A heart attack
- A stroke
- A reaction to the medication
You must take immediate medical assistance if you have the following symptoms after surgery:
- swelling on or near the incision site
- difficulty breathing
- chest pain
- a fever of 100ºF or higher
- tenderness or swelling in the legs
- difficulty urinating
- a loss of bowel or urinary control
Life after laminectomy:
A laminectomy will relieve many symptoms of spinal stenosis. However, it cannot prevent spine problems in the future and it may not completely relieve pain in everyone. People having a spinal fusion will have spinal problems in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are the types of a laminectomy?
The types of laminectomy may include:
- Cervical laminectomy is performed on a cervical vertebra in the neck.
- Lumbar laminectomy is performed on the vertebrae of the lower back and can relieve pain in the lower back, buttocks, and legs.
- Sacral laminectomy is a procedure that removes the lamina on the fused sacral vertebrae.
- Thoracic laminectomy is the removal of the lamina from the middle of the back (thoracic spine).
What is the success rate of a laminectomy?
The success rate of the laminectomy procedure is 64%.
What is laminectomy and what is the purpose?
Laminectomy is the removal of the vertebrae to remove pressure from the spinal cord or the spinal nerves in the vertebral column. This is performed in the neck, chest, or lower back area depending on the location of the compression.
Who does the laminectomy?
A laminectomy is performed by spine surgeons.
Will the laminectomy remove all my pain?
Laminectomy in the lower back is helpful in patients having radicular pain going down their legs.