Back pain is one of the most common problems reported by American adults and one of the most common reasons for missed work and the degradation of the quality of life. It has been suggested that most people will experience back pain at some point in their life. Many of those who develop a back condition will struggle with chronic pain, sometimes to the extent of inhibiting day-to-day activity.
If you have tried to minimize and manage chronic back pain with conservative home remedies such as over-the-counter medication, heat and ice therapy, and chiropractic care and have found little to no relief, now is an ideal time to consult with an orthopedic surgeon about what is happening in your spine and what to do about it.
Laminectomy Surgery for Chronic Back Pain
Various spinal procedures may be considered for the treatment of chronic back or neck pain. Laminectomy is one of the most common. This procedure is also referred to as spinal decompression surgery due to the objective of relieving pressure on the spinal cord and exiting nerves. Laminectomy can be performed on any spinal segment and is frequently considered for low back pain (lumbar laminectomy).
The laminectomy procedure involves removing the rear portion of one or more vertebrae, the bones that make up the spinal column. Bone spurs may also be removed during the surgery to maximize the results of decompression. Laminectomy surgery is performed under general anesthesia and may require one or more days of inpatient hospital care.
Why Laminectomy May be Performed
Usually, doctors attempt to treat back and neck pain with non-surgical therapies. Laminectomy may be recommended when:
- A disc has become herniated. This condition is also called a bulging or slipped disc. It describes the spinal cord pressure that is created by a leak from the intervertebral disc.
- One or more spinal disc has deteriorated. This is referred to as degenerative disc disease and describes the condition of wear and tear on the soft cushion in between the vertebra.
- Sciatica. This condition occurs when the nerves in the lumbar spine are compressed.
- Spinal stenosis, the condition characterized by a narrowing of the spinal canal, in which the spinal cord is housed.
Benefits of Laminectomy Surgery
The primary benefit of laminectomy surgery is that the procedure relieves the pressure on the spinal cord and nerves that exit the spinal column. In turn, this alleviates pain and other symptoms — many patients who undergo laminectomy report an immediate improvement in comfort and mobility. Within a few days to a few weeks after surgery, patients can expect to resume most low-impact activities with much more comfort than they had before their procedure.