Laminectomy is the surgical procedure performed to remove the lamina. Lamina is a small part of the bone, which mades vertebra present in the spine. It is also done to remove the spine’s bone spurs.
Need for the Surgery
When spinal stenosis is present with the candidate, laminectomy is usually preferred option. The procedure helps removing the damaged discs, bone and gives enough room for the spinal column and spinal nerves.
The symptoms that are usually found are the following.
- Numbness or pain felt in one leg or both the legs. Heaviness or weakness is flet in the legs or buttocks.
- Problem to control or empty the bowel and bladder
- When walking or standing, symptoms are worse
- Before Surgery
Diagnosis is done with CT myelogram or MRI for confirmation that spinal stenosis is existing. Doctor discusses the present medication that the candidate has been taking presently and to be discontinued for a while, before and after the surgery is performed. Smoking and alcohol must be stopped, as they may hamper healing process and may lead to complications. Physical therapist might be needed for some kind of physical exercises to be done, before the surgery and it involves practice the use of crutches. The patient has to stop eating and drinking before 6 to12 hours.
- Surgical Procedure
The procedure laminectomy makes the spinal canal to open so that the nerves of spine will have enough room. This procedure is usually done in association with spinal fusion, foraminotomy and discectomy. The patient would asleep with no pain during the surgery, as the general anesthesia is given.The patient lies down the table. At the middle of the neck and back, a small incision is done by the surgeon. The muscles, skin and ligaments present inside it are moved to one side. A surgical microscope might also be used during this procedure to view what is inside in the back, clearly. Lamina bones that are present on both of the spine are removed either partially or completely. Sometimes spinous process is done and sharp part is also removed from the spine. Additionally, other small fragments of disc, other soft tissues and bone spurs are also removed. Sometimes optionally, widening of the opening would also be done with foraminotomy for nerve roots that travel out from the spine. To ensure that the spinal column becomes stable enough post the surgery, spinal fusion might also be done. After the procedure, the tissues and muscles are put back into their own places. The incision is then finally sewn. The entire surgery process would take around 1 to 3 hours of duration.
- Post Surgery
After the surgery, the patient is advised to get out from the bed and start walking, after the anesthesia wears off. If spinal fusion is not included in the surgery, most of the patients may be discharged from 1 to 3 days from the hospital.
Risks associated with any kind of surgery are,
- Infection that may include in bladder, kidney or lungs
- Blood loss
- Breathing problems
- Clotting of blood in legs that may extend to lungs
- Reactions to the administered medicine
- Stroke or heart attack during the surgery
Risks associated with the spine surgery are,
- Infections in vertebral bones or in wounds
- Damage occurring to the spinal nerve that may result in pain, loss of feel or weakness
- Re-occurrence of the back pain again in the future
When spinal fusion is also done, additionally, spinal column present both below and above the spinal fusion is likely to cause problems in the future.
After the spine surgery is performed, future problems are possible to be arised related to the spine. Spinal column present below and above the fusion done is more likely to create the problem, in case the spinal fusion is also included in the surgery.
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