Back pain is one of the leading causes of missed work days in America. Almost 65 million people report a recent experience with back pain. While most recover in a few weeks, around 16 million experience chronic pain that’s serious enough to restrict their daily activities.
A common cause of lower back pain is spinal stenosis, any situation where spinal canal narrowing puts pressure on nerve tissue. It’s often associated with spinal osteoarthritis when overgrowths called bone spurs develop.
Lumbar laminectomy is a surgical procedure to relieve pressure on the nerves, and it’s a go-to technique when conservative treatments fail. The doctors at Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center specialize in minimally invasive surgical techniques for many procedures, including laminectomy. Make an appointment with us if you’re struggling to resolve lower back pain problems.
Goals of lumbar laminectomy
Several surgical procedures fall under the category of spinal decompression techniques. The goal of any of these surgeries is the relief of nerve compression. Lumbar laminectomy falls under this group, and it’s performed alone or in combination with other techniques to provide wider passage for nerve tissue through the spine.
The lamina is a section of bone that covers and protects the spinal cord and the root nerves branching from it. It serves as a bony protective cap between the spinal cord and the thick muscles of the lower back.
Removing the lamina provides more space for nerve tissue. This extra space becomes necessary when bone spurs and calcium deposits add to the thickness of vertebrae, creating spinal stenosis. Chronic issues with herniated discs can also limit space for nerves, and lumbar laminectomy may also be an effective treatment when spinal discs rupture. Herniated lumbar discs are a common cause of sciatica.
What to expect from a lumbar laminectomy
A simple laminectomy takes about two hours under general anesthesia. Your surgery could run longer if combined with another procedure, such as the removal of spinal disc tissue, called a discectomy, or a spinal fusion, where two vertebrae become surgically connected.
Whenever possible, our doctors choose minimally invasive approaches to spinal surgery. These techniques minimize the size of incisions and the impact on healthy tissue near the surgical site. You’ll recover faster and with less pain than with conventional procedures.
The recovery pace differs for everyone. Our team provides guidelines for your post-surgical care, including advice for pain management and physical therapy. Following these instructions helps to keep your recovery on track.
Laminectomy has a high success rate, but since it doesn’t halt the progression of arthritis or other causes of nerve compression, it’s possible that symptoms could return.
Though lumbar laminectomy removes a protective covering of the spinal cord, the thick and strong muscles of your back provide excellent protection for this nerve tissue. There’s little added risk for you after your surgery.
Learn more about lumbar laminectomy and how it may help you by consulting with our team at Atlas Neurosurgery and Spine Center. You can call the office or request an appointment online. Schedule your visit today.