Lumbar Laminectomy

What Is A Lumbar Laminectomy?

A laminectomy, also known as a decompression surgery, is a surgical procedure that relieves pressure on the spinal nerves or cord. This is accomplished by removing the lamina, the back portion of the vertebrae that covers the spinal canal.

Pressure on the spinal nerves and canal is commonly the result of bony overgrowths within the canal and may occur in people with arthritis.

Why Is A Lumbar Laminectomy Performed?

The bony overgrowths narrow the spinal canal, the space where your spinal cord and nerves are located, causing pressure and pain. Radiating symptoms such as weakness, numbness or tingling can also be caused by this condition. A laminectomy relieves the radiating symptoms more than the pain itself.

Dr. LaRocca may recommend this procedure if:

  • Conservative methods of treatment have been exhausted and fail to improve symptoms
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control is experienced
  • Weakness or numbness in the muscles that make standing or walking problematic

In addition, a laminectomy may be performed to treat a herniated disc if part of the lamina needs to be removed in order to treat the affected disc.

What To Expect

During the procedure

During the laminectomy, spine specialist Dr. LaRocca will make a posterior (back) incision and move the muscles away from the affected area. Small instruments are then used to remove the lamina.

Other procedures may be conducted in conjunction such as such as a discectomy to treat a herniated disc or spinal fusion to provide stability for the spine.

After the procedure

Following the procedure, patients may be able to go home the same day or may require a short hospital stay. Physical therapy to improve spine strength and flexibility may also be recommended.

After the procedure, limit activities that involve lifting and bending for a suggested period of time.