Laminectomy – How It Relieves Your Pain & Improves Your Quality of Life

September 21, 2022

Dr. Somshekar
Consultant Spine Surgeon

Are you experiencing pain or numbness radiating from the spinal region of your neck or back to your hands or legs? Is your back or neck pain affecting your routine activities? Have all medicines and therapies failed to offer you relief? If yes, it might be due to the development of bone spurs around the lamina (bone of vertebra), thereby narrowing the space for the spinal cord or thecal sac. Going for laminectomy can increase the space within the spinal canal and develop a sufficiently hollow passage for the spinal cord or thecal sac to pass without any hindrances. You need to consult an orthopaedic or spinal surgeon for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. So, you might be wondering what laminectomy is, when it’s right to go for it, how it’s done, and more, aren’t you? Scroll down to get answers to all your queries related to laminectomy.

What is Laminectomy?

A laminectomy is a major surgical procedure involving the removal of a portion of a vertebra called the lamina. The lamina is the flattened, arched part of your vertebral arch, that forms your spinal canal’s roof. When bone spurs, overgrowths, or tumours develop on the lamina, it exerts pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. So, you suffer from immense pain, numbness, or weakness that radiates from the back to your limbs. Usually, these bony overgrowths of vertebrae develop occupying the space of the spinal canal in people who suffer from arthritis of the spine. These overgrowths are referred to as body spurs, which also develop due to ageing. Also, bony spurs can be inherited.

Going for laminectomy enlarges the spinal canal, as the lamina having bone spurs is removed. This helps relieve the pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. So, you no longer suffer from pain, weakness, and numbness in the back and limbs. Laminectomy is a part of decompression surgery.

At times, laminectomy is required to be done as a part of a surgical procedure to treat the herniated spinal disk. The spinal surgeon may remove a part of the lamina to get to the damaged disk. Frequently laminectomy is a part of surgery which is combined with fixation (Screws and rods)

When is Laminectomy Done?

Laminectomy helps restore sufficient space in the spinal canal for the spinal cord or thecal sac to pass. It relieves the pressure on your spinal cord and nerves, and, so, you get rid of the radiating pain due to the pressure of the lamina’s overgrowths. The orthopaedic or spinal surgeon recommends laminectomy when:

  • Medications, physiotherapy treatment, and other conservative treatments fail to relieve the pain, numbness, and other concerning discomforts.
  • The numbness and weakness in the muscles make standing and walking difficult.
  • Symptoms turn severe or worsen leading to the loss of bowel or bladder control

How do You Need to Prepare for Laminectomy?

As per your surgeon’s instructions, you need to avoid eating and drinking for some specified time before the surgery. Also, the surgeon may instruct you about the medications that you should and shouldn’t take before the surgical procedure.

How Laminectomy is Done?

Usually, laminectomy is done by using general anaesthesia. So, you remain unconscious during the surgical procedure.

The concerned surgical team monitors your blood pressure, heart rate, and blood oxygen levels throughout the surgical procedure. Once the effect of anaesthesia begins and you become unconscious, you no longer can sense the pain.

  • The operating spinal surgeon creates an incision in your back over the affected spinal vertebrae and moves the muscles away from your spine as required. The size of the incision may vary depending on the condition and the body size. Smaller incisions are done in minimally invasive surgeries than those in open procedures.
  • Based on your condition and requirements, the operating surgeon may use a minimally invasive smaller incision and a special surgical microscope to carry out the surgery.
  • By using small surgical instruments, the surgeon removes the bone spurs, part of the lamina, or the entire lamina as necessary.
  • If laminectomy is being done as a part of surgical treatment for a herniated disk, the surgeon may remove the herniated portion of the disk and pieces that have broken loose.
  • For the curvature of the spine or for the vertebra that has slipped over the other, spinal fusion and removal of arthritic joints may be required to stabilize the spine. The operating surgeon may join two or more vertebrae after removing the arthritic joints. It may involve the use of screws, rods, bone grafts and other materials as per the requirement.

Post Laminectomy:

After the laminectomy is completed in the operation theatre, you will be moved to a recovery room where the healthcare team will observe you as you gain consciousness and for any complications. The doctors may ask you to move your limbs i.e. legs and hands. You may need to spend a couple of days or more in the hospital depending on your condition. The health experts will prescribe you medication to relieve the pain at the site of the incision.

The orthopaedic surgeon may recommend physiotherapy treatment post-surgery to improve your flexibility and strength. You may return to your routine work and profession in a few weeks. If you are operated on for spinal fusion, your recovery time might be longer.

4 Key Benefits of Laminectomy:

The benefits of laminectomy include:

  1. Pain Relief: The removal of bone spurs or lamina relieves the pressure on your spinal nerves. It may take from weeks to months for the nerve roots to heal completely, depending on how long the nerve was compressed.
  2. Increased Mobility: The constant pressure of the bone spurs on the nerve may have troubled you with localized or radiating pain. It might have made walking and other movements difficult and painful. After laminectomy, the pressure on the nerves vanishes. So, you longer feel irritated or discomforting. It improves your movements, and, with increased mobility, you enjoy a better quality of life.
  3. Relief from Radiating Nerve Symptoms: Various radiating nerve symptoms can hamper your concentration. If your lower spine nerves are compressed, laminectomy may offer you great relief from the symptoms of lumber radiculopathy that includes relief from prickling sensations (pins and needles prickling discomforts), relief from tingling and numbness extending to the thighs, hips, or buttocks, and relief from the pain and tingling sensation in the legs.
  4. A Marked Decrease in the Back Pain: After laminectomy, some patients may experience an immediate remarkable reduction in back pain. Others may need physiotherapy treatment during the recovery span to minimize the discomfort. If nerve compression was the fundamental source of pain, people may experience an immense reduction in the pain and other discomforts once they recover completely.
  5. Improved Quality of Life: After laminectomy, you get rid of all the pain and other discomforts affecting you. So, you enjoy an improved quality of life. Once you recover from the surgery, you may resume your work duties at full capacity, do your routine activities pleasantly, be more active, and enjoy playing your favourite sports.

So, if radiating back pain is making your walking and routine difficult and you need to undergo the laminectomy +/- fusion, reach out to us at https://specialisthospital.in/ or call for emergency on 080 4212 2222. Our expert orthopaedic surgeons and healthcare professionals will be pleased to attend to your complaints and treat you with the best surgical and medical treatment. Our spinal surgeons will use their best skills to relieve your pain, numbness, and other discomforts. You will enjoy an improved quality of life after laminectomy from our surgical experts. So, make no delay, get in touch with us, and lead a pain-free life with our specialized treatment and care.

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