Most back pain occurs because of degenerative changes that occur in the intervertebral discs of the lumbar spine and the joints between each vertebra. In some cases, degenerative changes in the lumbar spine can cause too much pressure on the nerves that travel through the spinal canal. When this condition occurs, the nerves in the spinal canal are in danger. To stop the pain, doctors perform a surgical procedure to remove the pressure on the spinal nerves by opening the spinal canal from the back to make the spinal canal larger. Also, this action refers to a procedure called a Lumbar Laminectomy surgery.
Learn about lumbar laminectomy including:
- what parts of the spine become affected
- why perform this procedure
- what you can expect from this procedure
- how rehab can improve your results
In order to understand your symptoms and treatment options, it helps to begin with a basic understanding of the general anatomy of the low back. This includes becoming familiar with the various parts that make up the lumbar spine and how these parts work together.
The spinal cord and spinal nerves are protected inside a bony tube within the spinal column. Likewise, the pedicle and lamina bones form this tube and connect to the vertebral body, while the lamina bones attach to the pedicles. Similarly, lamina bones cover the back of the spinal canal, forming protection over the spinal cord and spinal nerves.
If spinal stenosis causes your back pain, doctors will enlarge the spinal canal and remove bone spurs pressing on nerves. A complete laminectomy. Laminectomy means “remove the lamina” and can enlarge the spine. Removing the lamina and any bone spurs will give more room for the nerves. Therefore, a laminectomy reduces the pressure on the spinal nerves; thereby, decreasing any irritation or inflammation.
Lumbar Laminectomy Surgery
To perform a lumbar spine laminectomy, the surgeon makes an incision down the center of the lower back. Then the surgeon moves the muscles to the side. Once the doctor reaches the spine from the back, he or she identifies each vertebra. The surgeon will probably take an X-ray during surgery to ensure that the correct vertebrae and laminae are identified. Once determined, the lamina of the affected vertebra gets removed. Any bone spurs found sticking off the back of the vertebrae get removed as well. Finally, the surgeon takes great care to not damage the spinal nerve roots.
In the lumbar spine, removing the lamina completely may cause problems with the stability of the facet joints between each vertebra. If these joints become damaged during the laminectomy, the spine may begin to tilt forward causing problems later. Sometimes removal of part or all the facet joints are unavoidable.
The surgeon sometimes has to remove too many of the facet joints during a laminectomy. In this case, doctors may consider a fusion at the same time to prevent any problems later. In short, the surgeon will probably discuss this possibility with you before surgery.
Like all surgical procedures, operations on the spine may have complications. Because the surgeon operates around the spinal cord and nerves, back operations are always considered extremely delicate and potentially dangerous. To sum up, you should take the time to review the risks associated with spine surgery with your doctor. In conclusion, make sure you agree with the risks and the benefits of the procedure planned for your treatment.
To clarify, you will get up and begin moving a few hours after surgery. Consequently, you should limit your activities to avoid doing too much too soon. Furthermore, most patients return home when their medical condition stabilizes, usually within one to two days after surgery.
Your doctor may have you attend physical therapy beginning four to six weeks after surgery. Also, a well-rounded rehabilitation program assists in calming pain and inflammation, improving your mobility and strength, and helping you do your daily activities with greater ease and ability.
Therapy sessions may become scheduled two to three times each week for up to six weeks.
The goals of physical therapy will help patients:
- manage your condition and control symptoms
- improve flexibility and core strength
- learn correct posture and body movements to reduce strain on your back
- return to work safely
Our office will obtain Pre-authorization insurance from your insurance company. You may also receive a confirmation letter from them authorizing a one or two-day stay in the hospital. When your doctor finds that added days are needed, one of our caseworkers will update your status and extend the authorization. If you are transferring to a rehab center, we will obtain the insurance authority for the move.
If you or a loved one suffers from spinal pain, you owe it to yourself to call Southwest Scoliosis and Spine Institute at 214-556-0555 to make an appointment.