Laminectomy (Decompression Surgery)

A laminectomy eliminates pressure on the nerve roots in the spine. During the procedure, a surgeon removes the lamina bones and other aggravating bony outgrowths to allow the nerve roots more space in the spine.

What You Need To Know About Laminectomy

What is a Laminectomy?

A laminectomy reduces painful spinal compression pressure that can occur due to aging, trauma, stenosis, herniated spinal discs, or other spinal conditions.

During the procedure, a surgeon removes the lamina from the spinal column. The lamina is a flattened part of the spine that connects to the vertebral arch. Sometimes your surgeon will also remove neighboring bone spurs during a laminectomy. These other outgrowths can also put additional pressure on the spinal column.

After undergoing laminectomy, you may need a brief hospital stay, although sometimes it is done on an outpatient basis. Your Resurgens physician will create a unique treatment plan to promote your well-being.

Answering your questions about back pain procedures starts with making an appointment at Resurgens Orthopaedics. Book an appointment with a Resurgens Spine Center Physician now!

Why is a Laminectomy Performed?

Laminectomy relieves pressure on the nerve roots in the spine. During a laminectomy, the surgeon may treat one or more vertebrae or bone spurs.

Often the procedure is performed to relieve the pain of stenosis. Stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal that is usually caused by the formation of bony growths that can press against the nerve roots.

Another common reason for laminectomy involves treating herniated spinal discs. Years of wear and tear on the spinal column can cause the spinal discs to become damaged or displaced, causing debilitating pain.

How To Prepare For A Laminectomy

In the lead-up to your procedure, you must communicate openly with your doctor. In order to develop your treatment plan, your doctor needs to know your healthcare history, including medications you are taking (both prescribed and over the counter), family history, allergies, and other related health information.

Before surgery, your doctor will need to perform physical and diagnostic imaging screenings. During your physical screenings, expect some light irritation as your doctor may ask you to replicate activities that cause condition flare-ups.

Make arrangements with a loved one or professional caretaking service to have someone drive you home from surgery and assist with household activities. Before your surgery, you will need to quit smoking, stop taking blood thinners, and follow any other advice from your doctor.

What Happens During A Laminectomy

First, the surgeon creates a small incision to access the spine. The spinous processes are the bony protrusions that stick out from the rear of the spine. The surgeon carefully removes the spinous process from the vertebra or vertebrae that need treatment.

Next, the surgeon removes the lamina. This is the part of each vertebra that forms the rear portion of the spinal canal. Removing the lamina opens up the spinal canal, creating more space for the nerves. The surgeon may need to remove the lamina from more than one vertebra to fully relieve the pressure.

The surgeon may also need to treat the foramina. These are the openings on each side of the vertebrae where the nerve roots exit the spine. The surgeon inspects these openings and clears away any bony growths that could press against the nerves.

When the laminectomy procedure is complete, the incision is closed with sutures or surgical staples. The patient is monitored in a recovery room. Physical therapy may be recommended as the spine heals.

Are There Risks Associated With Laminectomy Surgery?

While laminectomy is a relatively safe procedure, no surgery is entirely free from risk. Potential complications include spinal fluid leak, injury to nerves, blood clots, infection, and bleeding. There are also risks associated with general anesthesia. Your doctor will be able to thoroughly discuss any uncertainties you have before your procedure.

Post-Laminectomy Recovery

After your surgery, you will recover from your procedure in our recovery room. Many people can go home the same day as their surgery, under the observation of a loved one or caretaker. At most, you will need a few days to recover in the hospital.

Upon being discharged from care, you will need to avoid heavy lifting and other strenuous activities. At your doctor's discretion, physical therapy and light exercise will improve your strength and flexibility.

You may be prescribed pain medication to help you manage your pain during recovery. While these medications provide pain relief, be wary as many of them are habit-forming. You will not be able to drive or engage in your typical routine until your doctor approves.

Getting the treatment you need starts with a visit to the Resurgens Spine Center. Schedule an appointment at one of our 24 metro Atlanta locations to learn more.