What is lumbar laminectomy surgery?| Dr. Andrew Cash, MD Las Vegas, Nevada

By Brooke Strickland and Dr. Andrew Cash


Lumbar laminectomy surgery (also known as a decompression surgery) is used mainly to ease pain and alleviate pressure on the spinal nerves that is caused and associated with spinal stenosis.   During the surgery, the physician removes the lamina, which is the back part of the vertebrae that covers the spinal cord.  This can help enlarge the spinal canal and relieve pressure.  In most cases, this operation is only used to treat vertebrae in the lower back or in the neck.  This surgery is usually a last resort option and is performed usually only when medication and physical therapy haven’t worked, or if symptoms increase quickly and dramatically. 

After a lumbar laminectomy, you will likely need therapy to help regain mobility and flexibility in your back or neck.  Activities will need to be very limited, as such as lifting, bending, or walking.   However, the results of a laminectomy are usually very good and most people will see improvement over time.  However, the spine will continue to age and compressed nerves may return; thus, many times, symptoms will start returning as time goes on. 

If you are experiencing extreme back pain that has not been relieved through traditional, non-surgical methods such as medication, stretching, or physical therapy, contact your doctor to see if this type of surgery is for you.

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