This is surgery to remove part of one or more of the bones that make up the lower part of the spine (lumbar vertebrae).
Lumbar laminectomy is surgery to remove a specific section (lamina) of one or more of the bones that make up the lower part of the spine (lumbar vertebrae). Removing part of a lumbar vertebra creates more space. The extra space allows pressure to be taken off the spinal nerves and/or the spinal column. It is most commonly done to reduce back pain and remove abnormal bone growth (bone spurs).
During a lumbar laminectomy, the surgeon may also perform other surgeries on the lower spine. Some examples include a:
Even without medical treatment, most episodes of back pain will usually resolve within six to eight weeks. A lumbar laminectomy may be recommended if you have spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal column) that has been confirmed by an MRI AND causes symptoms that affect your daily life and work. Some symptoms associated with spinal stenosis include:
A laminectomy is not recommended when a cause for your back pain has not been established.
If surgery is necessary, prior to the surgery you should tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before surgery. These may include:
If you are a smoker, you should quit. Smoking can interfere with your recovery.
During your surgery, you will receive general anesthesia to keep you comfortable and pain free. With general anesthesia you are put into a deep sleep and are unable to see, hear or feel anything. A lumbar laminectomy usually takes a few hours. You will probably spend a few days in the hospital after the surgery. It may take from a few weeks to a few months before you are back to your normal activity level.
What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a lumbar laminectomy?
After your surgery, you should know what you had done, what medication was given, and what symptoms you should report to your healthcare provider after discharge. You should also understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans. Your surgeon should also communicate with your primary care physician.
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