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Spine Surgery Guide

Lumbar laminectomy

What is It?

Lumbar laminectomy is an operation performed on the lower spine to relieve pressure on one or more nerve roots. The term is derived from lumbar (lower spine), lamina (part of the spinal canal's bony roof), and -ectomy (removal)


The human spine extends from the skull to the pelvis. It is made up of individual bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae, stacked on top of each other, are grouped into four regions:

1) the cervical spine or neck (7 vertebrae)
2) the thoracic spine or chest area (12 vertebrae)
3) the lumbar spine or low back (5 vertebrae)
4) the sacrum or pelvis area (5 fused, nonseparated vertebrae)
The base of the spine, the coccyx (or tailbone), includes partially fused vertebrae and is mobile.
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Why is it Done?

Pressure on a nerve root in the lower spine, often called nerve root compression, causes back and leg pain. In this operation the surgeon reaches the lumbar spine through a small incision in the lower back. After the muscles of the spine are spread, a portion of the lamina is removed (Fig. 2) to expose the compressed nerve root(s).

Pressure is relieved by removal of the source of compression part of the herniated disc, a disc fragment, a tumor, or a rough protrusion of bone, called a bone spur Preparations

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A lamina is rarely, if ever, removed because it itself is diseased. Instead, removal is done to:

(1) break the continuity of the rigid ring of the spinal canal to allow the soft tissues within the canal to expand (decompression), or

(2) as one step in changing the contour of the vertebral column, or

(3) in order to allow the surgeon access to deeper tissues inside the spinal canal.

Laminectomy is also the name of a spinal operation that conventionally includes the removal of one or both lamina as well as other posterior supporting structures of the vertebral column, including ligaments and additional bone. Conventional open laminectomy often involves excision of the posterior spinal ligament, and some or all of the spinous process, and facet joint. Removal of these structures, in the open technique, requires cutting the many muscles of the back which attach to them. Laminectomy performed as a minimal spinal surgery procedure, however, allows the bellies of muscles to be pushed aside instead of transected, and generally involves less bone removal than the open procedure.

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This information is not designed to replace a physician's independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient.
Always consult your doctor about your medical conditions or back problem. We Care Health Services does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use of the site is conditional upon your acceptance of our Terms and Conditions is a member of the medical tourism information network

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