A lumbar laminectomy is a spine surgery that involves removing bone to relieve excess pressure on the spinal nerve(s) in the lumbar spine, or lower back. A lumbar laminectomy can be performed to relieve symptoms such as back pain and radiating leg pain.
What Is A Lumbar Laminectomy?
A lumbar laminectomy is a spine surgery that involves removing bone to relieve excess pressure on the spinal nerve(s) in the lumbar spine, or lower back. The term laminectomy is derived from the Latin words lamina (thin plate, sheet or layer), and -ectomy (removal). A laminectomy removes or “trims” the lamina (roof) of the vertebrae to create space for the nerves leaving the spine.
Why Do I Need This Procedure?
Spinal stenosis is a condition caused by a gradual narrowing of the spinal canal. This narrowing happens as a result of the degeneration of both the facet joints and the intervertebral discs. The facet joints also enlarge as they become arthritic, which contributes to a decrease in the space available for the nerve roots. Bone spurs, called osteophytes also can form and grow into the spinal canal.
These processes narrow the spinal canal and may begin to impinge upon and place pressure on the nerve roots and spinal cord, resulting in such symptoms as:
- Back pain
- Pain that radiates into the hips, buttocks and legs
- Numbness, tingling and muscle weakness in the back and/or lower extremities
The goal of a lumbar laminectomy is to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves by removing the part of the lamina that is the source of the pressure.
To determine whether your condition requires treatment with a lumbar laminectomy, your doctor will examine your back and your medical history, and may order an X-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of your spine. A surgical procedure such as a lumbar laminectomy is typically recommended after non-surgical treatment options, such as medication, rest and physical therapy, fail to relieve symptoms after a reasonable length of time.