- [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.