Laminectomy, also referred to as decompression surgery, increases the spinal canal to ease pressure on the nerves or spinal cord. This pressure is due to many problems that include a herniated disc or bone overgrowths inside the spinal canal. The procedure of a laminectomy is usually performed on the neck or on the vertebrae in the lower back.
Reasons for Performing Laminectomy Procedure
One of the major reasons for laminectomy is severe, annoying and persistent pain in the lower back. This pain may interfere with normal functioning and can also limit mobility. The surgical procedure of laminectomy is performed for treating a disc problem, to ease pressure on the spinal nerves and also for removing a tumor from the spine. However, treating herniated disc is the most common problem for undergoing a laminectomy. The damage or displacement of this disc is may be due to normal wear and tear or injury. This results in weakness or numbness in the different parts of the body where nerve is involved. Sciatica is the most common symptom of a herniated disc.
Success Rates of Spinal Stenosis and Laminectomy
The success rate is usually favorable when lumbar laminectomy is performed for relieving pain from spinal stenosis. About 70-80% of patients after laminectomy have shown major improvement in performing their routine daily activities. Also they have decreased levels of discomfort and pain that was linked with spinal stenosis.
Decompressive Laminectomy for Spinal Stenosis
Decompressive Laminectomy is basically performed for treating spinal stenosis. The purpose of this surgery is to ease pressure on the spinal nerve roots or spinal cord due to age-related changes in the spine. Herniated discs, spine injuries or tumors are treated by this surgery. This surgery is useful in relieving the pressure on the nerve roots that helps in reducing pain and a person can begin its routine activities soon. Spinal fusion can also be performed simultaneously in order to stabilize portions of the spine that are treated with decompressive laminectomy.<
The surgical procedure for treating spinal stenosis is known as cervical laminectomy. The cutting of the lamina is done for removing the back of the spinal canal so as to provide more space for the nerve roots and the spinal cord. The aim of cervical laminectomy is to ease the pressure on the spinal cord and also to stop continuous damage caused to the spinal cord. Laminoplasty and a few other procedures can also be performed along with cervical laminectomy.
Decompressive Lumbar Laminectomy
During the surgical procedure of decompressive lumbar laminectomy, the back of the spinal bones is removed in order to ease the pressure on the nerves. This procedure is primarily performed for those patients who are facing weakness, leg pain or numbness due to the pressure on the nerves. Patients who are suffering from this condition are able to walk for only a short distance as they feel little tightness, drawing or cramping sensation in their thighs and buttocks that affect their ability to walk. The candidates for this procedure are those patients who are facing the above mentioned symptoms for a long time and also had earlier failed non-operative treatment. Computerized tomography (CT scan) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are performed for diagnosing the location and amount of compression on the nerves.
The surgical procedure of spinal decompression is performed at any place along the spine from the neck to the lower back. An incision is made at the back by the surgeon. Then some soft tissues and the lamina are removed in order to provide more space for the nerves. It may involve one or more vertebrae that depend on the extent of the stenosis. Different types of decompression surgery include –
Laminaplasty: It is the extension of the spinal canal where lamina is cut from one side. This type is primarily used in the cervical area.<
Laminotomy: In this, small portion of ligaments and lamina are removed from one side. This procedure reduces the chance of postoperative spinal instability as the original support of the lamina is left at its place.
Laminectomy: In this the complete bony lamina (a portion of the enlarged facet joints) and the thickened ligaments are removed.
Foraminotomy: Here bone surrounding the neural foremen is removed. This procedure is primarily performed when the disc degeneration has resulted in the collapse of the height of the foramen and that has caused pinched nerves. This procedure can be performed along with laminotomy or laminectomy.