What to expect during your laminectomy recovery

The laminectomy recovery process varies from patient to patient and can depend on a number of factors. For example, age and overall health can affect the speed and extent of the recovery. The nature of the condition and the surgical approach are also factors that impact the recovery period after a laminectomy surgery.

A laminectomy is a type of spine surgery used to remove one or more laminae, which are bony plates on the vertebrae that form a protective roof over the spinal cord. This removal provides access to the spinal cord, allowing the surgeon to decompress the pinched nerves.

There are different ways to approach this procedure. An alternate technique, called a laminotomy, takes a more minimally invasive approach involving the removal of only a portion of the lamina.

The typical laminectomy recovery process

Learning about what to expect during your laminotomy or laminectomy recovery is an important part of the decision-making process as you evaluate what type of surgery to undergo. For a laminectomy, these are the steps that generally happen during the postoperative process:

  • After the procedure is complete, patients are taken to a recovery area for continued monitoring.
  • Typical hospital stay for a laminectomy is one to five days, depending on the individual and speed of recovery.
  • Upon returning home, most patients will require strong pain medicine as the severed neck or back muscles heal.
  • Return to full activity can take three months or longer depending on the nature of the procedure.

A traditional open laminectomy procedure requires a long recovery process because the surgeon is required to make a large incision to access the spine and remove the lamina. The large incision severs important supporting muscles, which can cause postoperative pain and must heal before full activity can be resumed.

In contrast, a laminotomy performed as part of a minimally invasive decompression procedure can be performed with a much smaller, muscle-sparing incision and can help shorten the recovery time for patients.^

Laminotomy recovery versus laminectomy recovery

If you would like to learn more about the advantages of a minimally invasive laminotomy compared to an open spine laminectomy, reach out to Laser Spine Institute. Our highly skilled surgeons perform minimally invasive spine surgery, such as a laminotomy, as an alternative to traditional open spine procedures.^

If you have been recommended to undergo laminectomy but are concerned about some of the difficulties that come with the recovery process, contact our caring team for a free MRI review* to see if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.