Laminectomy is a kind of back surgery where removal of part of all of the vertebral bone is performed to get relief from the back pain that interferes with daily activities. Laminectomy helps relieve compression of the nerves or spinal cord that could have caused due to herniated disk, injury, tumors, or spinal stenosis. Laminectomy is only performed after medical tests determined if it's necessary.
People suffering from back pain can experience mild, annoying to severe and disturbing pain, which restricts them from performing simple activities such as moving or sitting need laminectomy. Laminectomy helps them get relief from such pain, which may be caused from a degenerated or herniated disk, tumor or any other defect in the spine. If medical treatments such as spinal injections, anti-inflammatory drugs, occupational therapy and physical therapy are not effective in treating numbness and weakness in body parts including arms and legs, then laminectomy surgery is performed.
Similar to any other surgery, your doctor will explain you the procedure where you can ask all the questions that you might have. You will need to tell him about your current health condition and medications you are taking. You will be advised not to eat or drink before the procedure. A team of qualified surgeon will first perform some medical tests to determine whether or not laminectomy surgery is the right option for you. These tests involve certain medical tests and imaging tests such as MRI and CT scan. It can also help find out if you are allergic or sensitive to any latex, medication or anesthesia.
Once done, you will be given general anesthesia to put you to sleep. Spinal anesthesia may also be given where you will keep awake but don’t feel anything from back to below down the waist. An intravenous (IV) tube and a urinary drainage catheter will be inserted in the arm and bladder respectively. The operation requires you to position yourself either on your side or abdomen. An incision will be made over the vertebra where the surgeon will spread the muscles to reach the lamina, which is removed to take the pressure off from the nerves. Spinal fusion is then performed where two or more bones are connected to stabilize the spine.
After it’s done, the incision is closed with surgical staples or stitches. During the entire procedure, your vital signs will be monitored continuously.
There are some potential risks associated with laminectomy surgery, which are:
- Blood clots
- Spinal cord damage
- Anesthesia complications
- Nerve or blood vessel damage
- Weakness and numbness
- Increased pain, which is rare
Post operative care
After the procedure, you will be taken to the recovery room to check your blood pressure, heart rate, pulse rate and breathing. You will require to stay in the hospital for a couple of days. You can start walking from the very first day of the surgery. Pain relievers may be given to control the excessive pain, if you experience any.
Doctors will advise you participate in some ordinary exercises to regain strength faster.
After discharge, keep the surgical site clean and dry for a few days. Your medical team will give you directions for bathing and exercise.
Notify the doctor at once, if you feel redness, bleeding, drainage or swelling on the surgical site along with fever, increased pain, numbness at legs, back or buttock or difficulty in urinating.