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Laminectomy

Laminectomy is a generally successful operation and typically solves the problem of symptoms in the legs. Typical diagnoses that lead to laminectomy are spinal stenosis or disc herniation.

Purpose

This is a surgical procedure that is done to take the pressure off your spinal nerves. These nerves, in your low back, go down your legs to the feet. If you have pressure on your low back spinal nerves then you probably have some combination of leg symptoms that might include, numbness, tingling, weakness or pain. Some people have just simply described it as a “dead” or “stiff” feeling in the legs.

This procedure is unlikely to help with back pain alone. If you have back and leg pain, again, it should help only your leg symptoms. If you get any back pain relief, consider yourself lucky. If you have only back pain, and no leg symptoms, this procedure is not indicated.

How it Works

The term laminectomy means to remove (-ectomy) part or all of the lamina. The lamina is the bony covering of the spinal canal where the spinal nerves live. Believe it or not you can remove some of the lamina, generally without any problem.

You might then ask, "What protects my nerves?" You have all the muscle and skin on the back of the spine that covers everything quite nicely. Depending on how big you are that amount of muscle and skin is at least 2-3 inches in the thinnest person.

This surgery can be done through a fairly small skin incision if it involves only one level but can be longer if multiple levels are involved. Laminectomy is often performed with spinal fusion.