Why is this surgery done?

A laminectomy is performed to access the spinal canal. Common examples would include surgeries for herniated disc resection, decompression of spinal narrowing (stenosis), drainage of infection and removal of tumors

How is a laminectomy done?

Once asleep with anesthesia and positioned on the bed, the procedure starts by opening the skin and muscle layers as the spine is exposed. Removal of either part of the bone (laminotomy) or the entire bone roof (laminectomy) is performed, depending on how much exposure is needed for the specific operation. When surgery is done, the retractors are removed allowing the muscles to cover the exposed canal, and the skin is closed.

What are my risks? What are common complications?

Major risks of surgery are rare. The most common complication is infection. Bleeding, injury to nerves or spinal cord and spinal instability are less common.

Risks of the general anesthetic will be discussed with you prior to surgery by the anesthesiologist.

What do I need to know before surgery?

Make sure the doctor knows your complete medical history, including adverse reactions to general anesthesia, allergies, medications and all health issues.

Depending on your age and medical history, you may receive orders for blood work, chest x-ray and/or EKG.

Make arrangement for someone to drive you home after you are released from surgery.

General discharge instructions.

Your doctor will discuss medication use, care of dressing and incision, and activities before you are discharged home. Generally, a pain medication will be given. Dressing and incision care will depend on the closure technique. Postoperative activities usually include walking, no repetitive bending and no heavy lifting.

We recommend contacting your doctor if pain symptoms get worse, you have swelling or soreness in your calves or if your temperature is greater than 100Ā°F.

What should I expect while recovering?

It is not uncommon to have soreness in the incisional area. Some swelling and bruising may occur. Pain medication will be given to alleviateĀ  discomfort. Incisional pain will last 1 – 2 weeks, and neurological recovery may take weeks to months to improve.

Possible physical therapy exercises.

Most patients will not need physical therapy after surgery. Patients with weakness, balance or walking problems may benefit. Your doctor will discuss the need for therapy after surgery.


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