Laminectomy

Steven C. Dennis, MD -  - Orthopedic Surgeon

Steven C. Dennis, MD

Orthopedic Surgeon located in Newport Beach, CA

A laminectomy, also known as decompression surgery, is a common procedure used to treat arthritis and other conditions that place pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, such as stenosis. With many patients reporting a strong success rate even a decade after the procedure, a laminectomy can improve mobility and quality of life for years on end. At the office of Steven C. Dennis, MD, in Newport Beach, California, Dr. Dennis can identify whether a laminectomy can resolve your spine health and provide the expert touch you need for long-lasting results. To learn more, call Dr. Dennis to schedule your consultation or book online.

Laminectomy Q & A

What is a laminectomy?

A laminectomy is a surgical procedure that helps relieve pressure on the spinal cord. During the procedure, the lamina, the piece of bone on the back of your spine that covers your spinal canal, is removed, along with excess ligament, to relieve the pressure.

Why are laminectomies performed?

Laminectomies are primarily a treatment for conditions that cause spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column that places pressure on the spinal cord and nerves within the spine. Some of the most common reasons this might be necessary include:

  • Age-related shrinking of the discs of the spine
  • Arthritis of the spine
  • Tumors in the spine
  • Traumatic injuries that affect the spine
  • Herniated discs
  • Congenital spinal defects

Pressure on the spinal cord can cause a range of symptoms, including back pain, numbness or weakness in the legs, problems walking, and issues controlling bladder or bowel movements.  

What can I expect during a laminectomy?

During your laminectomy,  you will be placed under general anesthesia, so you will be unconscious for the procedure. After you are asleep, a small incision is made in your back and the muscles are moved away from the vertebrae to be operated on.

The lamina is then removed using several small instruments. If your laminectomy is necessary for reasons related to a herniated disc, he might also remove the herniated portion of your affected disc.

Once your surgery is complete, you will be moved to a recovery room to make sure there are no complications. In many cases, you will be able to return home the same day as your surgery.

How long is laminectomy recovery?

Generally, you should expect to take a few weeks off from work to allow your back to recover. During this time,  physical therapy is often recommended to improve back strength and flexibility as you recover.

If you needed a spinal fusion during your laminectomy, you might need a longer recovery period. Full recovery from spinal fusion can take 1-3 months.

If you’re suffering from back pain and think spinal stenosis might be the cause, let Dr. Dennis help. Call the office of Steven C. Dennis, MD, in Newport Beach, California, to schedule your consultation or book online.