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Lumbar Laminectomy

Lumbar Laminectomy

A lumbar laminectomy, also known as spinal decompression, is a procedure that is performed to relieve pain caused by pressure in the lower portion of the spinal cord.

Why Would I Need a Lumbar Laminectomy?

Lumbar laminectomies are often performed to correct spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal column that puts pressure on the nerves that run through the lower vertebrae. It most often affects elderly people. Spinal stenosis and other problems that may require a laminectomy can result in: Stenosis Anatomy
  • Back pain
  • Pain radiating into the hips, buttocks and legs
  • Numbness and tingling in the legs and feet
  • Muscle weakness
Bone spurs, herniated discs and other related issues in the lower spine can also warrant a lumbar laminectomy. Surgery is typically not recommended until non-surgical treatments have been attempted. There are a number of spinal surgeries available. Discuss your condition with your surgeon to determine if a lumbar laminectomy is right for you.

What is the Procedure Like?

Lumbar laminectomies typically include the following steps:Patient Position


  • Patient lies face down
  • An incision is made along the lower spine
  • The tissue and nerves in the region are gently moved aside to expose the afflicted area
  • Part of the bone is removed to expose the root cause of the compression
  • Some patients may be a candidate for a minimally invasive lumbar laminectomy, which is performed in the same fashion as described above with a smaller incision.


The majority of patients experience immediate or near-immediate relief of previous symptoms. Some symptoms may reduce gradually over time. Patients are typically in the hospital for one to three days after the procedure. Minimally invasive laminectomy patients may be discharged the day of surgery.  Full recovery may take several weeks. Results vary by patient. Each patient should consult with a medical professional for a specific recovery plan.  

Risks and Complications

Spine ImageRisks though rare, include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, blood clots, bowel and bladder issues, in addition to potential complications associated with anesthesia. The results for each patient will be different depending on a variety of conditions.

To learn more about lumbar laminectomies or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.