Laminotomy procedure explained

Learn about a laminotomy procedure at Laser Spine Institute, as described from start to finish by Dr. Stefan Prada, M.D., orthopedic spine surgeon.

Laminotomy - Minimally Invasive Procedure

Laser Spine Institute's laminotomy procedure can relieve painful spine conditions

At Laser Spine Institute, surgeons perform a procedure called a laminotomy using a minimally invasive approach that does not require hospitalization.

This minimally invasive procedure is designed to alleviate symptoms of spinal cord impingement or nerve root compression by removing a portion of the bony vertebral arch known as the lamina, which surrounds the spinal cord. The goal of a laminotomy procedure is to create more space in the spinal canal, thereby relieving pressure on nerve tissue that may be caused by a herniated disc, enlarged facet joints, bone spurs, or other anatomical abnormalities that are taking up room in the spinal column.

Advantages of Laser Spine Institute's minimally invasive spine surgery:

  • No lengthy recovery*
  • 96% patient satisfaction
  • Board-certified surgeons+
  • Less than 1-inch incision
  • Outpatient procedure
  • 97% patient recommendation rate
A laminotomy of the spine is used to treat the following conditions:

A surgeon may also perform a laminotomy to remove the ligamentum flavum, a ligament in the spinal canal that can thicken to the point that it actually compresses the spinal cord, attributing to spinal stenosis. Once the ligament is removed, the spinal canal is opened up and the neural pressure is released.

Another type of procedure, called a laminectomy, is used in open back surgery and involves removing the lamina to increase the amount of space available for the neural tissue. The term laminectomy is derived from the Latin words "lamina" (thin place, sheet, or layer), and "-ectomy" (removal). Laser Spine Institute does not perform laminectomies.

Ever wonder what happens during a minimally invasive procedure? It begins with the surgeon inserting a tube into a small incision. One at a time, a series of tubes of increasing size are placed over the first tube to slowly create a small opening to the spine. This allows surgeons to perform laminotomies with minimal damage to the surrounding muscles, which are pushed out of the way and are not torn or cut. The last tube measures about 18 millimeters in diameter (as the size of a small marker), the space needed to insert the laser, camera, suction, irrigation and other surgical instruments.

Once the tools are in place, the surgeon begins the procedure. Some patients feel immediate relief during the laminotomy as the nerve(s) are released. Once the spinal canal has decompressed, the patient's symptoms of back and/or leg pain will resolve.

When the procedure is complete, the tube is slowly removed, allowing the muscles to move back into place. A stitch or two is needed to close the incision. After one to two hours of monitoring, the patient (with a companion) is free to go.

We generally encourage patients to take a long walk the afternoon or evening after their laminotomy. The patient then returns the following day for a postoperative visit to get clearance from the physician to return home.

Laser Spine Institute offers various minimally invasive procedures to relieve neck and back pain caused by spine conditions and nerve conditions. Procedures offered include laminotomies, foraminotomies, discectomies, facet thermal ablations and fusion alternatives.

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