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Lumbar Laminectomy

What is Lumbar Laminectomy?

Lumbar laminectomy, also known as decompression laminectomy, is a spinal surgery performed to relieve excess pressure on the spinal nerve(s) in the lumbar (lower back) region. The purpose of laminectomy is to remove the lamina or roof of the vertebra and provide enough space for the nerves to exit the spinal canal (decompression).

Indications of Lumbar Laminectomy

Spinal stenosis is one of the major indications for lumbar laminectomy.

Disease Overview

Arthritic changes in the facet joints and intervertebral discs causes enlargement of the joint. This narrows the spinal canal and exerts pressure on the spinal nerves.

The symptoms of nerve impingement include back pain or radiating pain into the hips, buttocks or legs, numbness or tingling sensation and muscle weakness in the back and lower extremities.

Lumbar Laminectomy Procedure

  • Lumbar laminectomy is usually performed under general anesthesia.
  • In this technique, you will lie face down on the operating table.
  • A small incision is made along the midline of your back. To have a clear view of the spine, your surgeon slowly retracts the soft tissues and muscles.
  • A part of or the entire lamina is removed to eliminate pressure on the nerve roots.
  • In addition, other sources of compression such as bone spur or damaged disc are removed to relieve the symptoms.
  • At the end of the procedure, your surgeon realigns the soft tissues and closes the incision.

Postoperative Care following Lumbar Laminectomy

  • Following a laminectomy, you may observe an immediate improvement of some or all of the symptoms, or sometimes a gradual improvement of the symptoms.
  • At the end of the first day of the surgery, you can move and walk around the hospital. Returning to your daily life or to work depends on how well you are healing, and the type of work or activity level.
  • Strictly follow the postoperative instructions suggested by your spine surgeon to promote healing and reduce the risk of postoperative complications.

Risks and Complications of Lumbar Laminectomy 

The complications of lumbar laminectomy may include problems associated with anesthesia, infection, nerve damage, blood clots, blood loss, and bowel and bladder problems.