A lumbar laminectomy surgery can provide relief, but only under the right conditions. At Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, we can assess your condition and help you determine if it is the right surgery for you. Here is what you need to know about lumbar laminectomy surgery and your treatment options.
What is a Lumbar Laminectomy?
A lumbar laminectomy is a minimally invasive surgery that removes a small portion of the lamina and the neural foramina in the spinal canal. The lamina is the outside portion of the vertebrae that is immediately under the spinal cord, and the foramina is the opening for the nerves to travel through. When arthritis causes the lamina to swell, it can put pressure on the spinal cord, causing pain and numbness.
By removing a small portion of the lamina, the swelling decreases and the pressure on the spinal cord decreases. A lumbar laminectomy surgery is recommended when the degenerative process in the spine has caused the lamina to swell, putting pressure on the spinal cord and other nerves. The surgery will remove the lamina and the neural foramina, taking pressure off the nerves.
Why Would You Need a Lumbar Laminectomy?
A lumbar laminectomy can be used as an alternative to laminotomy when the spine needs to be accessed, but the pressure on the nerve roots is too great. The purpose of laminotomy is to physically remove the lamina to take pressure off the nerve roots. With laminectomy, the lamina is removed, but the nerves are kept intact.
The lumbar laminectomy procedure is recommended for patients who experience pinched nerves in the lower back, pain in the legs or feet when standing or sitting, weakness or numbness in the legs or feet, and back pain that limits daily activities.
Who Qualifies for a Lumbar Laminectomy?
If you have arthritis of the spine, have tried other treatment options with limited success, and have lumbar spinal stenosis, a lumbar laminectomy may be indicated. Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs when the vertebral canal is narrowed, and the spinal cord is compressed. A lumbar laminectomy may also be recommended for patients who have had a laminectomy in the past and have developed arthritis in the area where the nerves were previously affected.
Recovery Time After a Lumbar Laminectomy
After your lumbar laminectomy surgery, you will need to spend time recovering and undergoing physical therapy. Depending on the patient, the amount of time needed for recovery can vary. The length of the recovery period will depend on the type of surgery performed and the extent of the procedure. Typically, after a lumbar laminectomy surgery, patients can return to work within 6 weeks and resume light exercise after 2 to 3 weeks.
At this time, you may be able to return to sports that do not involve heavy lifting. It is very important to follow all instructions given by your physician after your procedure. Otherwise, you may risk complications or need to have repeat surgery.
When Should You Get a Lumbar Laminectomy?
Before you get a lumbar laminectomy, there are other pain management methods to try. Pain medications and spinal adjustments may help. Also, methods of exercise to strengthen your core and back may relieve some stress by helping you stand up straight.
If none of those methods work, you should be assessed for the procedure. Most people that have the procedure done have bone spurs, arthritis of the spine, or another condition that causes compression of spinal discs. Removing the lamina makes space along the back ridge of the spine, allowing the discs to change shape slightly and relieve the compression along the spinal cord.
Contact Our Lumbar Laminectomy Surgeon for Help
If you are having problems with back pain and lower body pain, it is time for an assessment by an orthopedic and spine doctor. As we age, problems can develop that can lead to pain and other difficulties. A full assessment by qualified physicians can uncover the root of the problem.
A lumbar laminectomy is a surgery of last resort in most cases. Removing part of the spinal disc can provide relief but cannot be replaced once it is gone. Therefore, your lumbar laminectomy surgeon will want to try other options first. Work with a medical team that will take the time to assess your condition and look for the best possible treatment option for your situation. Call Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery at (866)-646-5090 to schedule an assessment.