The surgical procedure to remove a portion of the vertebral bone (lamina) is known as laminectomy. It is also done in order to remove the bone spurs in the spine. It is minimally invasive, because it requires only small skin incisions. The procedure can take pressure off your spinal cord or spinal nerves. Usually, laminectomy is done as a treatment to the condition called spinal stenosis. Bones and damaged disks are removed during this procedure to provide space for the spinal nerve and column. The doctor may suggest laminectomy for you if you have symptoms such as:
- Numbness or pain in the one or both legs
- Heaviness or weakness in the legs or buttocks
- Problems while controlling or emptying the bowel or bladder
- symptoms will be more visible or worse while you stand or walk
In order to diagnose the problem, the doctor may suggest tests such as MRI or CT. It will help the doctor to confirm if you have spinal stenosis or not. The doctor will recommend you for laminectomy if you have spinal stenosis. You will have to prepare mentally and physically for the surgery. For that, you may have to omit certain habits that can affect the surgery negatively. As a result, you will have to stop smoking, if you are a smoker. You may also have to stop taking some of your regular medicines. For this, you may also have to consult your regular doctor.
The surgery procedure starts with general anesthesia. After making incisions, the muscles, ligaments and skin are moved to side. The surgeon will look inside your back by using a microscope. He/she will remove a part or all of the lamina bones on one or both sides of the spine. Small disk fragments, other soft tissues or bone spurs will be removed after that. The surgeon may also do foramenotomy during the surgery, in order to widen the opening where the nerve roots exit from the spine. A spinal fusion may also be done in order to ensure the stability of the spinal column after the surgery. The surgery may take about one to three hours.
After the surgery, the patient is advised to wear protective brace and mobilize with support. Most probably, the patient can leave the hospital on the 2nd day of surgery. He/She will be able to do light physical activities after four weeks.
The surgery can relieve the symptoms to an extent. But, the patient may develop spine problems in the future.