What is a laminectomy and which spine conditions can it treat?


A laminectomy is a surgical procedure used to open up space in the spinal canal to relieve pressure on a pinched nerve root in the canal. This procedure is often used to treat patients with spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the spinal canal. During a laminectomy, a small portion of the spine is removed to make room for the nerve roots to travel through the spinal canal without becoming pinched.

In order to make more room in the spine, a laminectomy procedure removes one or both laminae near the vertebra. Each vertebra contains two laminae, which are bony segments that help form the arch across the back of the vertebra. During a laminectomy, the laminae are either reduced in size or removed altogether. This is done either to remove pressure from nerve roots (decompression) or to allow a surgeon access to the affected nerve root.

Types of laminectomy surgery available

This type of procedure is a traditional open back surgery and is performed in a hospital. Because of the highly invasive nature of this procedure, patients experience an increased risk of infection and postoperative complications. The incision to the spine alone cuts through muscles and surrounding tissue, increasing a patient’s risk of permanent muscle damage, excessive blood loss and scar tissue.

Spinal fusion is also sometimes necessary after a laminectomy to add stability to the spine. A hemilaminectomy, in contrast, involves the removal of only one lamina.

Conventional laminectomy is often a highly invasive back surgery that involves a long hospital stay and a long recovery period. The most common conditions treated with this surgery include:

  • Spinal stenosis
  • Sciatica
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated disc

If you are suffering from any of these conditions, there is another option for spine surgery: minimally invasive surgery at Laser Spine Institute.

Instead of a traditional open back surgery like a laminectomy, our surgeons perform a minimally invasive procedure known as laminotomy, which achieves the same goals as laminectomy without the muscle disruption of a traditional procedure. Our procedures are performed through a small, muscle-sparing incision, allowing our patients to experience a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^

Contact Laser Spine Institute Laser Spine Institute to learn more about our minimally invasive alternatives to conventional open back surgery. We will be happy to give you a free MRI review* to determine if you’re a candidate for our procedures.