A laminotomy is a surgical procedure used to treat a number of conditions that involve a narrowing of the spinal canal, such as spinal stenosis, bone spurs, arthritis of the spine and herniated discs. These conditions all can place pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots in one way or another, so the aim of a laminotomy is to free up space in the spinal canal by removing a portion of the lamina. The lamina is a thin piece of bone that serves as an archway or “roof” covering the spinal cord.
A laminotomy is often performed as an open back surgery in a hospital setting. During the procedure, a surgeon retracts muscles and tissues to access the affected portion of the spine, and then surgically removes a portion of the lamina. This procedure is not to be confused with “laminectomy,” in which the entire lamina is removed. In some cases of a laminectomy, so much bone is removed that spinal fusion is also necessary to help maintain the structural integrity of the spine. Recovery from a traditional laminotomy or laminectomy can take months, during which time prescription pain medication may be required.
While a laminotomy can be an effective treatment for neck and back pain, most conditions like bulging disc, herniated disc, arthritis of the spine and spinal stenosis can be treated with a few months of conservative therapy. Depending on the condition and severity of the symptoms, your physician may recommend a treatment plan that can include bed rest, activity modification, light exercise, physical therapy or over-the-counter medication. People who experience more frequent and severe symptoms may also consider prescription medication or steroid injections; however, it’s important to note that both of these options can come with side effects.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a back problem and have tried conservative treatments but still experience painful, debilitating symptoms, there is an alternative to a traditional laminotomy. Laser Spine Institute offers several minimally invasive procedures, including a laminotomy that is performed on an outpatient basis. Our state-of-the-art procedures require a small incision, so scarring and recovery time are drastically reduced compared to traditional open neck and open back surgery. If you’d like to learn more, contact Laser Spine Institute today.