A laminotomy is a surgical procedure used to create space in the spinal canal in order to relieve pressure on a pinched nerve root. There are many degenerative spine conditions that cause the spinal canal to narrow, such as spinal stenosis, bone spurs, arthritis of the spine and a herniated disc. The purpose of the spinal canal is to allow nerve roots to travel and send signals between the spine, brain and extremities. If the canal narrows, the nerve roots may become compressed, resulting in pain and limited mobility.

To create space in the spinal canal and decompress the compressed nerve roots, a laminotomy removes a portion of the lamina. The lamina is a thin piece of bone that serves as an archway or “roof” covering the spinal cord. There are two types of approaches to a laminotomy procedure: traditional open back and minimally invasive.

Choosing the right type of laminotomy for your needs

A traditional laminotomy is often performed as an open back surgery in a hospital setting. During the procedure, a surgeon will detach muscles and tissue to access the affected portion of the spine, and then surgically remove 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 and physical therapy may be required.

Fortunately, there is an alternative surgical procedure that does not involve the high risk of infection and complication and that can effectively widen the spinal canal. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a minimally invasive laminotomy that is performed through a small, 1-inch incision. Unlike a traditional laminotomy, our procedure does not impact the surrounding muscles, allowing our patients to experience a safer procedure and shorter recovery time^ than patients experience with a traditional open back surgery.

If you would like to learn more about our minimally invasive surgery and how we can help treat your degenerative spine conditions, contact Laser Spine Institute today.