Laminectomy is also known as decompression surgery. In this surgical procedure, a part of the vertebral bone called lamina is removed to create additional space. The lamina is the back part of the vertebrae that covers the spinal canal. Removing the lamina enlarges the spinal canal and thus, helps relieve pressure on the nerves and the spinal cord. Bony growths, especially in people with spinal arthritis, may put an additional pressure on the spinal cord. It may cause severe back pain and in some severe cases, can even cause paralysis. Narrowing of the space between the vertebrae is also known as spinal stenosis.
Laminectomy surgery, which is a form of spinal stenosis treatment, helps relieve pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves by creating a room between the vertebrae and the cord. When the pressure on the spinal cord in the case of lumbar spinal stenosis is relieved by creating a space between the lumbar vertebrae, the procedure is known as lumbar laminectomy. During a lumbar laminectomy, the surgeon may even remove the ligaments or bone spurs pressing the spinal cord.
During the surgery, the following steps are performed:
Laminectomy surgery takes anywhere between two to three hours to complete. The loss of blood during the surgery is minimal. Shortly after the surgery, the patient is moved to the recovery room. After a few hours, the patient is transferred to the normal hospital room. The patient can expect the following things after the surgery:
Q: How dangerous is laminectomy?
A: Laminectomy is a relatively safe procedure. Complications such as nerve root damage and paralysis are extremely rare.
Q: What is post-laminectomy pain syndrome?
A: This is characterized by persistent pain in the back following the laminectomy surgery. It is also known as failed back surgery syndrome. The surgeons may advise medications or a second surgery to treat it.
Q: How long does it t ake to recover from lumbar laminectomy?
A: It may take anywhere between four and six weeks to recover from the surgery.
Q: How do you sleep after back surgery?
A: It is alright to sleep in a position that is most comfortable for you. Some people prefer to sleep on their side with a pillow between their knees or behind their back for support. While others find it convenient to sleep on their back.
Q: Can you drive after back surgery?
A: Yes, you can. However, make sure to avoid it for at least six weeks and seek approval from your doctor first.