Spinous processes and laminae are two sections of bones in the lower back that are removed during a lumbar laminectomy. A lumbar laminectomy is performed for the lower back. Nerve roots that have become compressed must be released using this procedure.

As a result of the surgery, the bone and other obstructions that are causing the leg pain are removed, relieving the symptoms and preventing further deterioration of the leg. As a result, you should be able to walk further and more easily without pain.

Lumbar canal stenosis is relieved with this procedure by removing structures in the spine that have been degenerated or altered by aging. Age can cause the spongy discs that separate the spine and absorb shock to dry out and shrink and decrease flexibility between the vertebrae as the joints between them wear down.

Why it’s done?

Your spinal cord and nerves can be squeezed by bony overgrowths in the spinal canal. If the pressure is too high, your arms or legs can become numb, feel weak, or experience pain.

If you suffer from radiating symptoms of compressed nerves, a laminectomy can be more successful than a spinal fusion when relieving back pain that originates from the spinal joints.

Laminectomy may be recommended if:

  • You have tried conventional treatments, such as medication and physical therapy, but your symptoms don’t improve
  • You may need assistance standing or walking because your muscles are weak or numb
  • You are unable to control your bowels or bladder
  • Herniated disks can be treated surgically with laminectomy in some cases. If your surgeon needs to remove part of the lamina to access your damaged disk, he or she may need to remove parts of the lamina.


There is generally no risk associated with laminectomy. However, complications like those associated with any surgery may occur. Among them are:

  • Nerve injury
  • Spinal fluid leak
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots

How you prepare

Before your surgery, your doctor will be able to tell you exactly what medications you should and shouldn’t take. Also, they will inform you about your eating routine.

What you can expect?

During a laminectomy, you’re usually unconscious, so general anesthesia is usually used.

Throughout the entire procedure, your surgeon will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen levels. Following your unconsciousness and when you’re not feeling pain:

He or she makes an incision in your back over the affected vertebrae and releases the muscles so that they are no longer touching your spine. The lamina is removed with small instruments. According to your condition and body size, your incision may be larger or smaller. Smaller incisions are usually used in minimally invasive surgeries than in open procedures.

An additional piece of the disk is removed during a laminectomy if a herniated disk is also being treated by surgery (diskectomy). It may be necessary for you to undergo spinal fusion if one of your vertebrae slips over another or if the spine is curvature. During spinal fusion, bone grafts, and metal rods and screws are used to permanently link two or more vertebrae together.

A surgeon may perform the operation using a surgical microscope and a small (minimally invasive) incision depending on your condition and needs.

As you recover from surgery and anesthesia, the healthcare team keeps an eye out for any complications. During this process, your arms and legs may be moved. Medications could be prescribed to ease your pain.

Some people may require a short hospital stay after their surgery, but others will go home the same day. In order to improve your strength and flexibility after a laminectomy, your doctor may recommend physical therapy.

It may be possible for you to return to work within a few weeks depending on how much lifting, walking, and sitting you do at your job. You will also need more time to recover if you have spinal fusions.


After laminectomy, the majority of patients report measurable improvement in their symptoms, especially a reduction in pain that radiates down their leg or arm. In the case of particularly aggressive arthritis, however, this benefit may slowly diminish over time. The result of a laminectomy is not as likely to relieve back pain as is surgical intervention.

Can a laminectomy treat spinal stenosis?

Spine surgery such as laminectomy may be considered by your spine surgeon. In stenosis, the spinal canal (the tunnel through which your spinal cord travels) narrows gradually over time. Nerve roots and the spinal cord may be crowded as the space narrows, which can lead to severe pain or make it difficult to move. As you age, the bones of your spine slowly wear down, which leads to spinal stenosis.

Lumbar spinal stenosis (lower back pain) is caused by the narrowing of the spine in the lower back.

Stenosis of the spine can lead to:

  • Pain when you walk or bend over.
  • Numbness or tingling near your legs, groin, or lower back.
  • Bladder or bowel problems (which are less common but can be serious).

Is laminectomy surgery a quick or long-term procedure?

Recovery takes different amounts of time for everyone. In the beginning, it’s best to rest and ease into it. Try not to bend or twist too quickly after you have surgery. Take your time and do as much as you can each day.

The benefits of physical therapy (stretches and exercise to strengthen your muscles) may include less pain and easier movement. The front of your body is carefully padded during lumbar laminectomy surgery with a special device. You’ll be sleep-deprived during the procedure because you’ll be under general anesthesia. Once your spine surgeon has performed the procedure, they will remove part or all of the lamina (bone) to release the tension on nerves or the spinal cord. Moving forward they will make an incision in your lower back and separate the muscles to access the spine.

What is the difference between laminectomy and diskectomy?

Decompression surgeries of the spine involve either laminectomy (removal of the lamina or disk tissue) or diskectomy (removal of damaged disks). A laminectomy procedure may require a diskectomy or other surgical procedures (such as fusion of two vertebrae).