Laminectomy Overview

Laminectomy treats a pinched nerve. During the procedure, the back part of the vertebra or lamina is removed and the pinched nerve is decompressed. Dramatic symptom relief occurs shortly after the procedure. Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates’ (CONA) spine specialists perform minimally invasive and traditional laminectomies.

How is laminectomy performed?

Laminectomy is performed on an outpatient or inpatient basis under general anesthesia. A CONA spine specialist:

  • Gently retracts tissues near the affected vertebrae
  • Uses small instruments to carefully remove the lamina
  • Carefully removes damaged disc and arthritic bone

Absorbable sutures close tissue layers and removable ones close the skin. A sterile dressing and small gauze are placed over the surgical site. Total procedure time is 1 – 1 ½ hours.

What conditions can laminectomy treat?

Laminectomy may be recommended to treat a severely pinched nerve that does not respond to nonsurgical treatment. Symptoms that are relieved after surgery include:

  • Extremity pain
  • Extremity numbness, tingling and weakness
  • Spine pain and weakness

What are laminectomy advantages?

  • The lamina is removed and the pinched nerve is decompressed
  • The spinal canal is wider and will not pinch the nerve again
  • Symptom relief is dramatic and long-lasting

What is laminectomy recovery like?

Some patients return home shortly after their surgery. Others stay in a comfortable private hospital room for 1-3 nights. A CONA spine specialist sees patients 2 weeks, 1, 3, 6 and 8 months after surgery. Physical examinations and x-rays monitor the patient’s progress throughout recovery.

Physical therapy helps patients gain strength after surgery.

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