Lumbar Laminectomy

- [Narrator] Laminectomy is the surgical removal

of part of the vertebral bone called the lamina.

24 vertebrae make up the vertebral column

or spinal column.

Each vertebra has two laminae fused together

to form the roof of the spinal canal.

The laminae protect the spinal cord in the

neck and back regions.

In the lower back where the spinal cord ends,

the laminae protect the large bundle of

nerve roots called the cauda equina

as well as the nerve roots exiting the spine.

Nerve root compression can be caused by

bony spurs from arthritis.

A herniated disc compressing the nerve root

or less commonly a boney tumor of the vertebra.

A laminectomy relieves back and leg pain

caused by this nerve root compression

by removing all or part of the lamina.

This immediately alleviates the pressure on

the nerve root.

If a herniated disc is present,

your doctor will often perform a discectomy

which directly removes the source

of the compression.

A laminectomy can be done on a vertebrae

on the lower back called the lumbar vertebrae,

or those in the neck region

called cervical vertebrae.

Microlaminectomy and microdiscectomy

are procedures performed with

the aid of a microscope.

When you arrive at the hospital,

an intervenous line will be started

and a catheter may be placed in your

bladder to drain your urine.

Just before surgery, you will be given

either general or spinal anesthesia.

Spinal anesthesia is injected into a sac that

surrounds your spinal cord and numbs the area

where the doctor will be working.

With spinal anesthesia, you will be awake during

the procedure but you will have no feeling

in the lower half of your body.

A laminectomy takes about 1 to 3 hours.

You will lie on your stomach or on your side

for the duration of the procedure.

Your surgeon will begin by making a small

incision overlying your spine.

Retractors are used to pull fat and

muscles away from the lamina.

Using a special bone drill,

your surgeon will cut away the lamina

in order to see into the spinal canal

and locate the source of the nerve compression.

If a herniated disc is causing the compression,

he or she will perform a discectomy

by removing the protruding part of the disc.

To complete the procedure, the deep tissues

and incision in your back will be

closed with stitches.

After your surgery, you will be taken to

the recovery room for monitoring.

The nursing staff will regularly check

vital signs and the strength of the leg

on the side of your surgery to be sure

the nerve has not been severely injured.

You will be encouraged to get up and walk

as soon as you feel comfortable.

If a catheter was inserted before your surgery,

it will be removed before you leave the hospital.

If you've had an uncomplicated discectomy,

you will likely leave the hospital the next day.

Laminectomies performed for other reasons

may require longer hospital stays.