Lumbar Laminectomy

Lumbar laminectomy is a kind of surgical procedure which is done to ease pain that is cause by pressure in the nerves. In this procedure it removes some part of a disc material or bone that presses on the nerves causing compression. By removing this material the nerve root are given space and the time to heal.

This surgical procedure is best for individuals who suffers from lumbar spinal Stenosis. This condition usually strikes the elderly and this is often cause by degenerative changes which often leads to enlargement of the facet joints. It is the enlarged joints that places pressure in the nerves and pressure may be relieved with a lumbar laminectomy.

The Procedure

Laminectomy surgical procedure involves a two to five inch long cut which is made in the midline of the back. The right and left back muscles are cut off the lamina on both sides to allow surgeons to have access on the nerves. Some parts of the facet joints which is directly over the nerve roots may be remove to give the nerve roots more space.

After the surgery, patients may have to stay in the hospital for one to three days. The patient’s recovery period depends on its pre-operative condition and age. Patients are being encouraged to walk following the procedure although they should avoid excessive twisting, lifting and bending for around six weeks so as not to pull on the suture line and allow its back to fully heal.

Success Rate of Laminectomy

Fortunately, laminectomy has a favorable success rate. Just after the surgery about seventy percent to eighty percent of individuals who undergo this procedure have significant improvement in their daily performance and observed reduced pain and discomfort.

Results from this surgical procedure is excellent for the relief of leg pain that is cause by spinal Stenosis. Lumbar spinal Stenosis is most often cause by an arthritic facet joints which often cause too much pain in the back. Removing part of the facet joint can give the nerve more space thus relieve one from pain but the bad news is it does not eliminate the arthritis. It is no surprise if the pain recur after a couple of years then.

Risks and Complications

Just like any major operations, laminectomy surgical procedure has its risk and complications too. Here are some of its most common risk and complications;

Nerve root damage or Bowel/Bladder Incontinence. The risk of nerve root damage is one in every one thousand while bladder or bowel incontinence can happen in one in ten thousand cases. Paralysis is rare since spinal cord end at T12 or L1 level and the surgery is done below this level.

Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak. One to three percent encounters a cerebrospinal fluid leak that is if the dural sac is punctured but this hardly changes the result of the surgery.

Infection. Infection happen in about one percent of cases and often needs further surgery along with antibiotics. It can be a nuisance but it can be managed effectively.
Bleeding. Bleeding is a rare complication in this procedure since there are no major blood vessels in the area of operation.

Postoperative Instability. In five to ten percent cases, a post operative level can be encountered although this complication can decrease by avoiding the pars interarticularis during surgery.

strong>General Anesthetic Complications. This complication is somewhat rare with this procedure although spinal Stenosis is often done with the elderly thus the risk of general anesthetic complication is higher with this patients. Complications of general anesthetic includes myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, stroke and blood clots.