Living with spinal disorder-related nerve pain can influence your life in many ways. Often, it may make each day feel like a struggle to finish. However, there are treatments that aim to minimize this pain. A laminotomy is one such medical avenue that may foster healing and help you move past the pain you are struggling with.
To determine whether a laminotomy is the right treatment for you, speak with an experienced doctor. This could be the difference between living with pain and living without pain. Call today and set up an appointment.
What Is a Laminotomy?
Laminotomy often refers to a type of spinal decompression surgery that partially removes the lamina, which is the bony, protective cover located at the back end of the spinal canal. Unlike a laminectomy—which completely removes the lamina—laminotomies typically remove just a portion. When the nerves in the back become compressed, they can cause various painful and distressing symptoms. This surgical procedure can be used to create space for nerves to move freely and reduce such symptoms. Symptoms of a narrowed spinal canal may include:
- Sharp pains or aches that radiate outward from the affected area
- Muscle weakness
- Tingling sensations
- Electric shock-like sensations
Anyone who is experiencing any of the above symptoms may want to consult their doctor immediately. If a laminotomy is deemed an appropriate course of action, a surgeon generally will need to remove certain portions of the lamina to free up space in the spine for the nerves. Surgeons also may use this procedure to give them access to herniated discs in the spine that potentially may contribute to neck pain, back pain, or other symptoms.
What Happens During Surgery
Typically, the surgery consists of the following steps:
- Incision into the middle of the back over the vertebrae
- X-ray over the vertebrae to confirm the location
- Removal of a portion of the lamina using a drill or bone-biting tools
- Removal of thickened ligaments and bone spurs
- Trimming of the facet joints (if necessary)
The exact laminotomy procedure varies depending on the patient’s body and generally will be decided by the surgeon. If the patient has any questions, they should ask them beforehand so they know exactly what they are going to go through. Understanding the different parts of a medical procedure could substantially help a person prepare for the surgery and potentially recover faster afterward.
Possible Outpatient Options
Due to recent advances in spinal surgery, laminotomies may be performed in a minimally invasive manner using small incisions. This typically means less trauma to tissues and muscles and faster recovery times than traditional surgeries.
Given their minimally invasive nature, the procedure is often ideal for an outpatient surgical setting, allowing a person with back pain the convenience of a surgery that takes approximately 45 minutes. In terms of timeline, the surgery typically requires a hospital stay of one to three days and a recovery period of between four to six weeks. An accomplished spine doctor could explain or clarify questions regarding the particulars of a laminotomy.
Speak to a Doctor About a Laminotomy
Often, narrowing of the spinal canal is connected to enlarged joints, age-related osteoarthritis, and thickened ligaments. A laminotomy may be used to treat various kinds of spinal disorders, including herniated discs, sciatica, spinal stenosis, spondylosis, and degenerative disc disease. If someone is struggling with a back or neck disorder, a doctor will commonly attempt to first manage the pain using conservative treatments such as physical therapy or medications. However, if the pain is not manageable using these treatment modalities, a surgical procedure might be necessary. Contact a doctor who could guide you through the next steps and help determine whether a laminotomy is the right procedure for you.