Laminectomy is a surgery to remove part of a vertebra of the spine. Lamina is the specific removed part. This structure is the roof of the spinal canal that gives support and protection for the backside of the spinal cord.
However, it is often performed in order to remove a broken disc between the vertebrae.
In other words, laminectomy will allow opening the spinal canal, so that the spinal nerves have more space. Discectomy, foraminotomy and a vertebral arthrodesis can also be performed. You will be asleep, so you will not feel pain (general anaesthesia).
You will lie face down on the operating table. The surgeon will make an incision in the middle of the back or neck. After that, he pushes aside the skin, muscles and ligaments.
Some or all of the bones in that area can be removed on both sides of the spine, along with the spinous process, the angular part of the spine. The surgeon will remove any small disc fragments, bone spurs (bony projections that develop along bone edges), or other soft tissue.
On the other hand, the surgeon can also perform a foraminotomy (to widen the opening where the nerve roots leave the spine) at this time. After that, you can undergo a vertebral arthrodesis to confirm that the spine is stable after surgery. This surgery may take 1 to 3 hours.
Reasons to perform the procedure
Spinal stenosis is a medical indication to perform laminectomy. This condition refers to the narrowing of the spine that causes pressure on the spinal cord or narrowing of the openings (called intervertebral foramina) where the spinal nerves exit the spinal column.
In the procedure, the surgeon removes damaged bones and discs, which allows getting more space for the spinal nerves and spine.
The symptoms can be:
- Pain or numbness in one or both legs.
- Weakness or heaviness in the buttocks or legs.
- Problems to control the bladder and bowel.
Laminectomy for spinal stenosis will often provide total or partial relief of symptoms.