The central support structure of the body is the skeleton, and the essential portion of the skeleton can be said to be the spine. This arrangement, a series of alternating vertebrae and discs, come together to form a framework that is central to almost all of your bodies movement. Housed within the spine is the aptly named “spinal cord,” and it serves as the primary highway for signals coming to and from the brain to the rest of the body. Just like a highway when the spinal cord becomes congested, typically as a result of pressure caused by bone spurs or herniated discs, messages can start to be interrupted. This interruption results in numbness and tingling in the affected areas, typically the arms and legs, indicating that stenosis is present. If this impingement of the spinal cord is happening in the lower spine, otherwise known as the lumbar region, a lumbar laminectomy may be appropriate.
What Is A Lumbar Laminectomy?
When bone spurs form on the vertebrae, it is often necessary to remove entire portions of the lamina, the bony covering on the vertebrae, to alleviate the symptoms caused by those spurs. A laminectomy is a term for the procedure that removes that material. Laminectomies can relieve pain and discomfort resulting from the pressure on the nerve caused by these bone spurs, providing lasting relief to the patient.
How Is a Lumbar Laminectomy Performed?
First, the patient is put under general anesthesia for the duration of the procedure. This treatment is followed by an incision two to five inches long made in the middle of the back followed by the retraction of the muscles covering the target area. The removal of the lamina from the affected area permits visual examination of the nerve roots held within, and the identification of problem bone spurs and disc herniation within the spinal column. These concerns are removed during the procedure, followed by spinal fusion in the event of a discectomy.
What Is My Recovery From A Lumbar Laminectomy Going To Entail?
Lumbar laminectomies are typically followed by up to three days in the hospital for observation. Age and condition before the operation play a significant role in determining when you’ll be able to return to normal activities, but in most cases, the patient is encouraged to begin moving promptly after the procedure. During the following six weeks the patient is encouraged to limit their strenuous activity to give the site sufficient time to heal. Consult your physician before returning to full activity to ensure that the suture has adequately recovered.
If you suspect that you’re experiencing symptoms that may indicate lumbar stenosis, you should contact your physician immediately. More conservative treatments are commonly attempted before resorting to surgery and may include physical therapy, over-the-counter medications, and exercise. If these become exhausted without effect, Dr. Yevgeniy Khavkin may suggest a lumbar laminectomy as an appropriate next step. The sooner you address the symptoms, the more likely it is that surgery can be avoided or at least delayed without impacting your quality of life so call and make an appointment with the Khavkin Clinic today!