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Spine Surgery Guide

Laminotomy Overview

Laminotomy In India

The term laminotomy is derived from the Latin words

Lamina name is given to the bone protecting the spinal canal, and otomy means opening or hole. A laminotomy is a surgical procedure that is used to relieve pressure off the spinal canal for the exiting nerve root and spinal cord, increasing the amount of space available for the neural tissue and thus releasing the nerve(s).

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The lamina is a spine bone that can become enlarged due to various spinal conditions. The bone growth puts pressure on the surrounding nerves and compresses them. This can cause numbness and pain in the back, legs or neck, if the problem is in the cervical region of the spine. A laminotomy removes part of the lamina, which relieves the pressure on the nerves and may alleviate pain.


Laminectomy and laminotomy may sometime be confused. Although they are similar, a laminectomy involves removing all the lamina. During a laminotomy only a portion of the bone is removed. According to Oregon Health and Science University, a laminotomy has advantages and is less likely to damage the muscles around the bones in the spine. Because only a small portion of the lamina is removed, smaller incisions are needed than in laminectomy.



According to the Mayo Clinic the risks for a laminotomy are similar to those of a laminectomy. Risks include nerve root damage. Another possible complication is leaking cerebrospinal fluid. Infection can occur, as well as excess bleeding. Risks associated with general anesthesia include an allergic reaction to the anesthesia.

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Laminotomy is performed under general anesthesia. An incision is made down the centre of the back over the area of the herniated disc. Incision may be 2 to 6 inches long depending on how many vertebrae are involved. The muscles are moved to the side so that the surgeon can see the back of the vertebrae. X rays may be required during surgery to make sure the correct vertebra is located. A part of lamina (bone that forms the spinal canal) is removed from the vertebra above and below the pinched nerve. The small opening created is sometimes enough to take pressure off the nerve. In most cases disc matter or a bone spur that is pressing on the nerve is also removed. Once the nerve is free of pressure the incision is repaired with sutures or metal staples.

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