Laminectomy, often referred to as decompression surgery, creates space in the spinal canal and relieves pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
A laminectomy is surgery to remove the lamina — the back part of the vertebra that covers your spinal canal. Also referred to as a decompression surgery, laminectomy enlarges your spinal canal to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
This pressure can be caused by bony overgrowths within the spinal canal (spinal stenosis) or by a herniated disk. Laminectomy is most commonly performed on the vertebrae in the lower back and in the neck.
A laminectomy is only recommended when more-conservative treatments — such as medication and physical therapy — have failed to relieve symptoms or if the symptoms are severe or worsening.
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Is a Laminectomy right for me?
Although only your doctor can tell you if a Laminectomy is the right treatment plan for you, you might be a qualifying candidate if:
You are experiencing pain from spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, or spinal tumors
Your pain is caused by pressure on a nerve root or the spinal cord
You have tried other treatment options like (but not limited to) physical therapy, bracing, or spinal injections without success
You feel numbness or weakness in your legs
You are experiencing difficulty walking, controlling your bladder or bowel movements
Recovery from Laminectomy
70% to 80% of patients who have laminectomies show significant improvement in their function (ability to perform normal daily activities) and a reduction in their pain and discomfort.
The recovery time will depend on the extent of your surgery and your general health resulting in:
Being able to return to light activity (desk work and light housekeeping) within a few days to a few weeks.
Your doctor may not advise a return to full activities involving lifting and bending for two to three months.
You should start light walking and physical therapy exercises as per your doctor’s instructions.