A lumbar laminectomy is one of the most commonly performed minimally invasive spine surgeries (MISSs). It is used to remove the back portion of a diseased or damaged lumbar (lower back) vertebra that pinches the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots. Patients who undergo the procedure experience symptom relief in a very short period of time. Because the procedure is performed in a minimally invasive fashion, patients experience less postsurgical pain, recover faster, and have a less noticeable scar. The spine surgeons at Hope Orthopedics specialize in performing minimally invasive lumbar laminectomy procedures designed to help patients live pain-free and happy lives.
A Lumbar Laminectomy Procedure at Hope Orthopedics
A lumbar laminectomy is usually performed under general anesthesia. A board-certified anesthesiologist is responsible for administering anesthesia and pain medications and monitoring patients throughout the entire procedure. Once patients are comfortable and completely asleep, the orthopedic spine specialist performs the procedure using the following steps:
- Incision and exposure. A small incision is made. Retractors are used to gently move lower back muscles aside so the lumbar vertebrae can be visualized.
- Vertebral bone removal. The back portion of a diseased or damaged vertebra is carefully removed using tiny surgical instruments.
- Incision closure. The surgical incision is closed using sutures that will be removed approximately two weeks after the procedure. Sterile dressings are placed over the incision. An adhesive gauze is placed over the sterile dressings.
Patients are woken up and taken to the postoperative recovery unit after their procedure. Total procedure time is dependent on the severity of patients’ conditions. Generally, procedures take approximately one to two hours.
Lumbar Laminectomy Recovery
Patients’ vitals and pain levels are monitored by the postoperative recovery team, which includes an anesthesiologist and registered nurses. After patients are completely awake and pain is controlled, they may be driven home by a family member or friend. If an overnight hospital stay is necessary, patients will be brought to their private room. One of the most important parts of recovery is physical therapy. Patients and physical therapists work together to improve strength, flexibility, and function. Total recovery time is usually four to six weeks.
Lumbar Laminectomy Results
The spinal cord or spinal nerve roots are no longer pinched after the procedure. Patients experience significantly less (if any) back or extremity pain after their procedure and recovery. Patients who follow the advice of their orthopedic spine specialist and are dedicated to physical therapy can expect maximum results.
Condition Treated Using a Lumbar Laminectomy
A lumbar laminectomy is used to treat spinal stenosis, a condition characterized by the narrowing of the spinal canal and subsequent pinching of the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots. The most common cause of spinal stenosis is osteoarthritis. The symptoms of spinal stenosis typically include any or any combination of the following:
Symptoms most often present in the lower extremities. They may also present in the lower back. An initial consultation with one of the specialists at Hope Orthopedics is geared towards identifying symptoms and then treating them appropriately. A patient-focused approach is always used to provide patients with maximum results.