If you have been dealing with back pain for a long while and a variety of non-surgical approaches have not provided you relief, then your doctor may recommend that you go in for a laminectomy. This is a spinal surgery, so of course, you are probably a bit apprehensive about having it performed. But knowledge is still power, and learning the answers to these FAQs about laminectomies is sure to make you feel more confident as your surgical date approaches.

What does the surgeon actually do in this procedure?

In a laminectomy, the surgeon removes the lamina from one or more of your vertebrae. The lamina is the bony projection that comes off the back of each of your vertebrae. It is the part of the bone you actually feel if you run your fingers down the spinal column. The bone will be cut and shaved off using special surgical tools. This is usually done through as small of an incision as possible. If you only need one lamina removed, for example, the incision will only be a few inches long, and it will run vertically down your back. Keeping the incision small reduces healing time.

What symptoms will the laminectomy relieve?

This procedure is usually performed primarily to alleviate back pain. If your pain is coming from the lamina pressing on certain nerves in the spine, then removing the lamina will alleviate that discomfort. Often, however, patients find that if they were dealing with any pain in their hips, buttocks, or neck, that pain is also alleviated by the laminectomy. The lamina can press on nerves related to these parts of the body, and the relief you get when that pressure is removed can be profound.

How long will it take to recover?

You should be able to go home from the hospital the next day. Some patients even go home the same day as their surgery. Everyone recovers at a different rate, but it is typical for patients to take about one to two months to fully recover from a laminectomy. If you have a more sedentary job, you will be able to return to work sooner than if you have a more active job. You will need to do some physical therapy as a part of your recovery. Usually, one to two sessions per week for a month or two will keep you feeling great!

A laminectomy can be a smart choice for patients with back pain. Turn to your doctor if you have any additional concerns, and visit websites like https://www.towncenterorthopaedics.com/ to learn more.