Laminotomy and laminectomy are two surgical procedures performed on the section of a spinal bone called the lamina. Laminotomies involve removal of only a minor segment of the lamina, while laminectomies involve removal of most or all of the lamina. Both procedures are performed to relieve excessive pressure on the spinal cord or its associated nerve roots caused by degenerative discs, herniation, bulging discs and spinal stenosis.
Each of your spinal bones (vertebrae) has a flat, oval-shaped main body and a rear section that roughly resembles a pair of outspread wings. The rear portion of the main vertebral body forms the front wall of the spinal canal, while the various structures in the rear section form the rear and sides of the canal. Your lamina sits in the middle of this rear section and forms the rear wall of the canal, also known as the canal “roof.”
How is a Laminotomy/ Laminectomy performed?
The minimally invasive spine procedure is performed through a very small incision(s), less than an inch in size. A small tube is placed in between the muscle fibers to preserve muscles, tendons and ligaments. Through this small tube, specialized instruments are used to decompress nerve roots, thus alleviating pain, weakness, and other symptoms. More space is created in the spinal canal by shaving small amounts of lamina, which is the bone covering the posterior of the spinal canal. Depending on the severity of your condition, your surgeon may perform a laminotomy or a laminectomy. The surgeon might also remove other sources of compression, such as a herniated disc or bulging disc.
How long is recovery?
This minimally invasive laminectomy is typically performed on an outpatient basis. As with all minimally invasive procedures, the laminectomy is less likely to cause extensive scarring or require an extended recovery than traditional open back surgery. Many patients will notice immediate improvement of some or all of their symptoms; however, other symptoms may improve more gradually. Many patients who undergo a laminectomy can often return to their regular activities within several weeks. This can vary depending on the individual patient, number of levels treated, and other factors. Recovery will include rest, physical therapy, and a variable course of pain management medication.
Why North American Spine?
Our partnered physicians are specialized and highly experienced in minimally invasive techniques, so patients experience a quicker recovery time, better surgical outcome, and reduced post-operative risks in comparison to open spine surgeries. Also, remember that your Patient Care Manager is here to guide you the whole way—our goal is to make sure you feel informed, cared for, and comfortable throughout every step of your care.