What is a Laminectomy ?|
Laminectomy is a term used to describe operations on the spine where the bone surrounding the spine (the lamina) is removed. There are 7 laminae in the neck, laminectomy here being called a cervical laminectomy, 12 in the chest (thoracic laminectomy), and 5 in the lumbar region (lumbar laminectomy).
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. A midline incision in the lower back is centered over the affected area. Dissection through the back muscles provides access to the spine. The portion of the vertebra known as the lamina is removed along with any thickened ligaments to release the nerves traveling down the center of the spinal canal. Individual nerves are released as they exit the spinal canal by shaving a portion of the degenerative facet joint. The soft tissues are then closed in multiple layers with absorbable sutures.
Why is a Laminectomy performed ?
There tend to be two broad reasons for a laminectomy: to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or the nerves emerging from it, or to allow access to the spinal cord in order to operate on it. An example of the first type is the common operation for a slipped disc.
Preparations needed for a Laminectomy
Some laminectomies are carried out as emergencies, perhaps for a problem causing rapid paralysis of the legs or arms. Others are carried out as planned procedures for slow deterioration in the limbs, or for pain. In emergencies, less time can be spent carrying out tests.