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.