Lumbar laminectomy is a surgical procedure to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves. Degeneration, or wear and tear,in the parts of the spine may narrow the spinal canal. This puts pressure on the nerves in the canal. This condition is called spinal stenosis. A laminectomy involves removing a section of the bony covering over the back of the spinal canal. This takes pressure off the spinal nerves.
What do doctors hope to achieve?
Lumbar laminectomy can alleviate the symptoms of spinal stenosis, a condition in which the spinal nerves become compressed inside the spinal canal. Wear and tear on the spine from aging and from repeated stresses and strains can cause a spinal disc to weaken. The outer rim of the disc bulges outward, and the disc may eventually protrude or even rupture into the spinal canal, narrowing the size of the canal. As a result, the nerves inside the canal are squeezed, leading to symptoms of spinal stenosis.
Degeneration also causes bone spurs to develop. These spurs commonly occur around the facet joints and along the edges of the vertebrae. When these spurs point into the spinal canal, they may squeeze against the spinal nerves. In a laminectomy, the surgeon removes a section of the lamina bone and any bone spurs, taking pressure off the spinal nerves. This enlarges the spinal canal so the spinal nerves have more room.
What happens after surgery?
Patients are usually able to get out of bed within a few hours after surgery. However, you will be instructed to move your back only carefully and comfortably.
Most patients leave the hospital the day after surgery. They are safe to drive within a week or two. People generally get back to light work by four weeks. Heavier work and sports should wait two to three months. Workers whose jobs involve strenuous manual labour may be counseled to consider different work.
Outpatient physiotherapy usually starts four to six weeks after surgery.