What is Laminectomy Surgery and What to Expect

by | Jun 15, 2024

Technology is continuously evolving, bringing us incredible advancements that enhance our daily lives, making them more enjoyable and free from unnecessary struggles. This progress has profoundly impacted the healthcare industry, transforming it in ways we once only dreamed of. With each innovation, surgeries, particularly spine surgeries, have become smoother, safer, and more beneficial for patients. One such procedure that has seen remarkable improvement is laminectomy.

Now, you may be asking yourself what exactly is laminectomy? What does laminectomy treat? What are the benefits and risks of this procedure? To start off, laminectomy is a specialized spinal surgery designed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. At SpineMed Specialists in Wichita, KS, we are proud to offer this advanced treatment, leveraging the latest technological advancements to provide our patients with the best possible outcomes.

Laminectomy involves the careful removal of a portion of the vertebra called the lamina, which covers the spinal canal. This procedure is a precise and delicate operation, typically performed by highly skilled surgeons with specialized training in spinal surgeries. The lamina acts as a protective arch over the spinal cord and nerves, but in certain conditions, it can become a source of compression, leading to severe pain and neurological symptoms.

This procedure is typically recommended for individuals suffering from various spinal conditions that result in nerve compression. One common condition is spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal that places pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Patients with spinal stenosis often experience symptoms such as back pain, leg pain, numbness, and weakness.

Another condition that may necessitate a laminectomy is a herniated disc, where the soft inner material of a spinal disc protrudes through its outer layer, pressing against nearby nerves. Additionally, tumors that grow within or near the spinal column can also cause nerve compression, requiring surgical intervention to relieve the pressure and prevent further neurological damage.

Before undergoing any surgery it is important to understand the benefits and risks associated with said procedure. We will now go over the benefits and risks of a laminectomy.

What are the Benefits and Risks of a Laminectomy Surgery

As with any medical procedure, whether it is surgery or not, will always come with its own benefits and risks. It is important to understand both sides before undergoing any sort of surgical procedure. Here we will discuss 5 of the most common benefits and five of the most common risks associated with a laminectomy surgery.


Top 5 Benefits of a Laminectomy Surgery

  1. Pain Relief: Laminectomy is highly effective in relieving pain caused by conditions like spinal stenosis, herniated discs, and tumors. By removing the lamina and alleviating pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, patients often experience significant reduction or complete relief from chronic pain, allowing them to return to a pain-free life.
  2. Enhanced Quality of Life: After a laminectomy surgery, patients can return to their regular routines and enjoy activities they may have avoided due to pain and stiffness. This leads to an overall enhancement in the quality of life, allowing patients to participate more fully in social, recreational, and work activities.
  3. High Success Rate: Laminectomy surgery has a high success rate for relieving symptoms of spinal stenosis and other conditions causing nerve compression. Many patients report significant improvements in their pain levels and functional abilities, making it a reliable and effective surgical option for those suffering from spinal conditions. 80% of surgical patients report experiencing significant pain relief after surgery.
  4. Improved Mobility: Patients who suffer from nerve compression often face severe mobility issues. Laminectomy can restore normal function and improve the ability to walk, stand, and engage in daily activities without discomfort, enhancing overall physical independence.
  5. Short Recover Time: Many patients experience quick recovery times after their laminectomy surgery, especially with minimally invasive techniques. Patients often start rehabilitation soon after surgery, which helps in quicker healing and return to normal activities. This means less downtime and a faster return to daily life and work.

Top 5 Risks of a Laminectomy Surgery

  1. Infections: As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection at the incision site or deeper within the spine. Proper surgical techniques and post-operative care are crucial to minimize this risk. Some signs of infection include but are not limited to redness, swelling, increased pain, and fever.
  2. Bleeding: Bleeding during or after surgery is a potential risk. Surgeons do take precautions to control bleeding, but excessive bleeding may require additional interventions or transfusions. It’s important to discuss any medications or conditions that could increase bleeding risk with your surgeon.
  3. Recurrence of Symptoms: While laminectomy aims to provide long-term relief, some patients do experience a small recurrence of symptoms over time. This could be due to further degeneration of the spine or the development of new issues. Regular follow-up and proper post-operative care are important to monitor and manage any recurring symptoms.
  4. Nerve Damage: Although laminectomy surgery is performed to relieve pressure on nerves, there is a risk of accidental damage to the spinal cord or surrounding nerves during surgery. This can lead to symptoms such as numbness, weakness, or, in rare cases, paralysis.
  5. Spinal Mobility: Removing a portion of the vertebra can sometimes lead to spinal instability, especially if multiple levels are involved. This may require additional procedures, such as spinal fusion, to stabilize the spine and prevent further issues.
Happy couple after a successful laminectomy surgery

SpineMed Specialists: Laminectomy Surgery in Wichita Kansas

At SpineMed Specialists, we are proud to offer laminectomy procedures to get you back on your feet and doing what you love with the people you love. Should you need a laminectomy surgery in Wichita Kansas, what does that process look like with SpineMed Specialists? Here are things you should know when choosing us as your provider for a laminectomy.


Inform your healthcare provider about all medications you are currently taking, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as supplements. Some medications may need to be adjusted or temporarily stopped to minimize surgical risks. Your provider will guide you on which medications to continue and which to stop before your surgery.

Preoperative Instructions

Follow all preoperative instructions provided by your surgeon to ensure a smooth procedure:

  • Dietary restrictions: No food or water for 12 hours prior to the procedure.
  • Cessation of smoking: Refrain from smoking for 12 hours before the procedure.
  • Hygiene: Shower the night before or the morning of your surgery to reduce infection risk.

The Surgical Procedure

Anesthesia You will be administered general anesthesia to ensure you are asleep and pain-free during the surgery.

Incision The surgeon will make an incision in the back over the affected vertebrae to access the spine.

Laminectomy The lamina is removed or trimmed to create more space and relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.

Decompression The surgeon may remove any herniated disc material or bone spurs contributing to the compression.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Hospital Stay If your surgery is performed at Midwest Surgery Center, you will go home the same day. If performed at a hospital, you may need to stay for a day or two for monitoring and initial recovery.

Pain Management Antibiotics and pain medications will be prescribed to manage postoperative pain effectively.

Physical Therapy The need for physical therapy will be assessed at your 3-week post-op appointment. If necessary, a rehabilitation program will be initiated to help you regain strength, mobility, and flexibility.

Follow-up Appointments

  • Drain Removal: If a drain was placed during your procedure, it will be removed 24-72 hours after surgery. If you are hospitalized, it will likely be removed before discharge.
  • Staple and Suture Removal: At around 3 weeks post-op, you will follow up with our office for staple removal. Sutures, if present, will be removed at a 6-week appointment.
  • Regular Follow-ups: Scheduled for 3, 6, and 12 months post-op, with an X-ray taken before each appointment to ensure that fusion is progressing and the hardware is stable.



Unleashing Your True Potential with Laminectomy

As mentioned earlier, the evolution of technology has revolutionized the healthcare industry, offering transformative advancements that continue to redefine the landscape of medical treatments. Among these innovations, laminectomy stands out as a testament to progress in spine surgery. With its ability to alleviate pain, restore mobility, and enhance quality of life, laminectomy represents hope for those suffering from spinal conditions.

However, as with any surgical procedure, it’s essential to weigh the benefits against the risks and make an informed decision. At SpineMed Specialists in Wichita, Kansas, we are dedicated to providing exceptional care and guiding our patients through every step of their laminectomy journey, from preoperative preparation to postoperative rehabilitation. With our expertise and commitment to patient well-being, we strive to ensure the best possible outcomes and help individuals reclaim their lives with confidence and optimism. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to truly unleash your true potential and get back to doing what you enjoy.