A laminectomy is a surgical procedure used to open up space in the spinal canal and help alleviate the symptoms associated with an impinged or irritated nerve root or spinal cord. 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. It also can be used to help address the contour of the spine in, for example, scoliosis patients. Typically an open back surgery performed in a hospital, a laminectomy includes the removal of the entire vertebral arch along with overlying muscles, tissues and tendons. Spinal fusion is also sometimes necessary after a laminectomy to add stability to the spine. A Hemilaminectomy, on the other hand, involves the removal of only of one lamina.

Conventional laminectomy is often a massively invasive back surgery that involves a long hospital stay and a long recovery period. Among the conditions treated with this traditional surgery are:

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

For many patients with any of these conditions, there is another option: minimally invasive procedures like those performed at Laser Spine Institute. Instead of a traditional open back surgery like laminectomy, the surgeons perform an, minimally invasive procedure known as laminotomy which achieves the same goals as laminectomy without the accompanying disruption — or even removal — of the bone and other tissue associated with the impinged or irritated nerve root. Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about our more effective, minimally invasive alternatives to conventional open back surgery.