Lumbar Laminectomy Surgery
A lumbar laminectomy, also known as decompression surgery, is a minimal access, low risk spine surgery designed to treat symptoms of spinal stenosis. This surgical procedure relieves pressure on the nerve roots and spinal cord that can cause radiating leg pain and weakness in the lower extremities.
The procedure focuses on the five lowest vertebrae just above the base of the spine, where the surgeon removes plaque, tissue, and boney overgrowths to create space within the spinal canal. Through this process, pressure is relieved on spinal nerves, alleviating pain and discomfort in the patient.
Indications for laminectomy in the lumbar spine
Lumbar laminectomy may be suggested for patients who do not respond to conservative treatments like epidural steroid injections or physical therapy. If left untreated, nerve root compression in the lumbar spine can cause leg weakness, difficulty walking long distances, intense pain, and tingling sensations.
This lumbar spine surgery is intended to restore space and relieve neural tissue compression in patients who have a narrowing of the spinal canal caused by:
- Bone spurs
- Degenerative or herniated lumbar discs
- Disc fragments
- Vascular malformations
- Natural aging process
Overview of lumbar decompression surgery
Lumbar laminectomy surgery has been performed for decades, but surgeons can now utilize a minimally invasive approach. Smaller incisions and endoscopic tools mean less blood loss, lower risk of complications, and faster recovery.
Before the surgery, general anesthesia is administered. Next, a tiny (less than one inch) skin incision is made directly over the lumbar vertebrae. A surgical microscope enables the surgeon to identify bone spurs and tissues that are putting pressure on spinal nerves. The soft tissues are then eased back in place, and the incision is closed with dissolvable sutures.
A minimally invasive lumbar laminectomy can last anywhere from 45 minutes to one and half hours. It may be combined with other surgical procedures such as segmental fixation, spinal fusion, or Arthrodesis.
Recovery after lumbar decompression
Patients who have this minimally invasive spine surgery most often return home the same day. Expect mild to moderate pain, which can be mitigated with prescription and over-the-counter medication. It’s best to limit strenuous activities and avoid heavy lifting, stooping, or bending for at least two weeks. Specific post-operative instructions to help expedite healing will be provided.
At 14 days post-op, most patients are weaning off their pain medications and beginning to regain mobility. Many report pain relief and measurable improvements in leg weakness within just a few days of the decompression. However, complete recovery may take up to 6-8 weeks. How quickly you recover depends on general health, age, and any underlying conditions.
Schedule Your Dallas Lumbar Laminectomy Consultation
For decades, patients in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and surrounding communities have put their trust in neurosurgeon David Barnett, MD. The doctor can quickly determine if lumbar laminectomy is an appropriate option to treat your symptoms and if you’re a candidate for the minimally invasive approach. Call our office today to schedule a private appointment.
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