Laminectomy Overview


What is a laminectomy?

A laminectomy is a type of surgery that is typically performed by a neurosurgeon who will remove part of the vertebral bone to ease spinal cord pressure. A laminectomy may also be performed to help nerve root pain caused by a herniated disk, spinal stenosis, a pre-existing injury, or a tumor. If your back or neck pain is not getting any better and you’ve tried other medical treatments and physical therapy, it might be time to talk to Dr. Siegal about getting a laminectomy.

Why would I need it?

taking pain medication for your neck or back? If this sounds like you, a laminectomy may be a good option for you.

The most common reason for patients opting for this procedure is the presence of a herniated disk in their spines. Normal wear and tear or an injury can cause a disk to become damaged or displaced. This creates pressure on the spinal nerves and causes symptoms such as numbness, weakness in the arms and legs, and pain, with Sciatica being the most common. Sciatica is described as sharp, shooting pain along the sciatic nerve that goes from the buttocks to the thigh and down the back of the leg.

Before undergoing a laminectomy however, moderate treatment options should be discussed. These may include:

  • Medication
  • Changes in activity
  • Spinal injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Weight loss (if necessary)
  • Smoking cessation (if necessary)
  • Assistive back support devices

One should seriously consider a laminectomy if the pain persists, there is numbness or weakness in the arms and legs, and/or a loss of bowel or bladder control.

I need to see Dr. Siegal

What are the risks?

As with all surgeries, a laminectomy comes with some risks like:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Spinal cord or nerve injury
  • Blood clots in the lungs or legs
  • General anesthesia risks
  • Nerve or blood vessel injury

Dr. Siegal will complete a full medical exam before recommending any type of surgery. He will thoroughly review all the risks and benefits that may be specific to your health condition and go over any pre-operative instructions necessary including activity limitations and medication cessation if necessary.

What happens during a laminectomy?

This is an inpatient procedure performed at a hospital or surgical center and is carried out under general anesthesia in which Dr. Siegal will ease the pressure of the nerves in the affected area by removing the bony arch of the posterior part of the respective vertebra(e). He may also remove bone spurs, growths, or the whole disk if necessary.

What happens after?

Though a laminectomy typically requires at least one night’s stay in a hospital, you can expect to be walking around your room the night of surgery. You will be prescribed pain medication, given directions on how to take it, and be given an exercise plan to follow once you get home.

Once home, you must follow the specific bathing instructions to clean your incision area. Continue to take the pain medication as required and do your exercises. Stitches and surgical staples will be removed during your follow-up office visit. You should never drive after any surgery until you are cleared by your healthcare provider. You should also limit other physical activities and avoid bending over to pick up objects and arching your back.

If you experience any of the following symptoms after your laminectomy, contact your healthcare provider’s office immediately:

  • High fever
  • Increased pain around the incision
  • Numbness in the back, buttocks, or legs
  • Bleeding, swelling, redness, or drainage from the incision site
  • Trouble urinating or loss of control of your bladder or bowels

Laminectomy with Dr. Siegal and Key Clinics

As a board-certified neurosurgeon, Dr. Siegal’s goal is to improve the quality of all his patients’ lives. If you are experiencing back or neck pain and regular pain management isn’t cutting it, let Dr. Siegal help you get your life back. Dr. Siegal will review your medical history and create a treatment plan based on your goals.

Stop living in pain. Stop taking endless amounts of medications. Get your life back with Dr. Siegal and Key Clinics.

I’m ready to live pain free