A laminotomy is a surgical procedure that cuts off parts of the vertebral column, the lamina, which may be causing undue pressure on nerves along the spinal cord. It is minimally invasive, has a short recovery time and leaves little scar tissue.
The lamina is the bony plate covering the back arch of the vertebra. A laminotomy is similar to a laminectomy, which involves removing the entire lamina (in a laminotomy, only a portion of the bone is removed). It also requires local anesthesia, whereas laminectomies require a general anesthesia.
Lamintomy procedures utilize laser surgery, fiber optic cameras, suction and irrigation tools, all of which fit inside an 18mm tube to help navigate and operate on the problem site. The procedure carries out as follows:
- The doctor administers a local anesthetic so that you do not feel pain around the incision. Most patients retain consciousness during the procedure.
- The surgeon makes a small incision in your back and inserts a tube. This tube is about 5mm wide.
- The surgeon slowly inserts bigger tubes to gently expand the opening and push aside the muscles. The final tube is about 18mm in width, or as thick as a marker.
- The surgeon locates the buildup of bone tissue around the affected nerve and cuts it away with the laser. Irrigation and suction tools are used to clean the surrounding area and help decompress the nerve.
- The surgeon removes the tubes one by one to gradually reduce the size of the surgical opening. Once the surgeon removes the final tube, the area is stitched up. There is a short period of rest before patients are released.
- The next day, a post-operative check-up is completed.
The entire procedure should take about an hour, not counting post-op monitoring. It should also leave minimal scarring. Most patients are able to resume their normal life within a few days.
Conditions Treated by Laminotomy
A laminotomy is primarily used to treat the following conditions:
- Bone spurs
- Spinal stenosis
- Bulging discs
- Spinal arthritis
- Herniated discs
- Pinched nerves
All of these spinal conditions are similar in the way they cause pain, muscle spasms, tension, numbness and weakness in the rest of the body. A laminotomy can treat many conditions in which pressure is placed on the spinal cord, leading to pain.
Should You Get a Laminotomy?
If you believe that you need a laminotomy surgery, consult your physician prior to the procedure. You may need to receive an official diagnosis through X-ray or MRI imaging before undergoing a laminotomy. Contact your doctor today to see if this procedure can help provide a solution for your back pain.