The 3 Week Diet

What’s Laminectomy and Do I Need One?

There are many forms of Laminectomy surgeries available. Typically a laminectomy is used to remove a portion of the vertebra bone called the lamina, depending on where the affected area is.

Laminectomies are designed to relieve pain related to several forms of degenerative back aliments.  Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal, which can be caused by several different degenerative diseases: bulging discs, injuries, bone spurs, degenerating vertebrae, and swelling of ligaments.  These issues can cause constant dull pain, intense shooting pains, numbness or weakness in the extremities, and problems standing up or walking.

The lamina portion of the vertebra bone has space for the nerves to pass through the vertebra.  Depending on where the nerves are affected, the surgeon will either widen the nerve canal by shaving it down. The surgeon could also remove tissue in this space, opening up more room for the nerves or remove the lamina to reduce irritation. Complete removal of the lamina is rare.

If you are having lower back pain, then you may need a lumbar laminectomy. If you have upper back pain, then a cervical laminectomy may be necessary.

Endoscopic Laminectomy is a minimally invasive surgery where the bone is extracted. The surgeons are able to move the muscle and tissue out of the way reducing surgery pain and recovery time, while typically allowing for less bone removal.  Also the incisions are small, reducing the chance of infection.

With the advancements in endoscopic technology and MRIs and CT scans, surgical preparation time has been reduced significantly.  A pre-op plan can be put into place for the surgeon as opposed to the more traditional cut-and-diagnose approach.

If you are considering a laminectomy, make sure that your doctor goes over a pre-op plan which includes what he will be doing for your specific issues.  There may be issues that the MRIs and CT scans do not reveal. Advancements in endoscopic technology have greatly reduced the guess work.  If you’ve been experiencing back pain and want to find out if a laminectomy will help, talk with your doctor and schedule an MRI or a CT scan.

If there is a need for substantial bone removal, then an additional surgery may be necessary.  If multiple laminas need to be shaved down, opened up, or removed, then a back fusion may in order. This can be diagnosed in the preplanning stages depending on the results of your MRI or CT scan.  A fusion is not an endoscopic surgery and requires more recovery time.

You need to make sure this, or any other surgery, is your last option to address your chronic back pain. Only after you’ve tried physical therapy and other nonsurgical pain treatments recommended by your doctor, should surgery become an option.

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    Category: Backpain

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