In general, here's what to expect: After a minor (decompressive) laminectomy, you are usually able to return to light activity (desk work and light housekeeping) within a few days to a few weeks. If you also had spinal fusion with your laminectomy, your recovery time will likely be longer from two to four months.
General anesthesia, which puts you to sleep, or spinal anaesthesia is used. For lumbar laminectomy surgery, you will lie face down or be placed in a kneeling position.
The surgeon will make an incision in your lower back and separate the muscles to access the lamina. Part of one or more vertebrae will be removed to reach the affected nerve roots.
The surgeon will then remove the lamina and any bony growths or ruptured disk material to relieve the pressure on the nerves and spinal cord.
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Your surgeon may also perform a foraminotomy to widen the area where the nerve roots go through the spine. A laminectomy usually takes one to three hours.
In most cases, the degree of bone, ligament or facet joint removal will not significantly affect the strength of the spine. However, depending on the amount of tissue removal and whether the spine has been weakened by arthritis, degenerative changes or previous surgery, the strength of the spine may be compromised. In these situations, the surgeon may perform a spinal fusion, using metal implants and bone grafts to restore spinal strength.
Patients with failed back surgery symptoms may experience the same pain as before surgery, and/or discomfort of a different kind (such as numbness, weakness, stiffness, sharper pain, or more diffuse pain) or in a different area of the body. A well-known complication of lumbar laminectomy is excessive shear displacement in the intervertebral joint, leading to postoperative spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis. Symptomatic clinical instability justifies reoperation to stabilize and fuse the unstable segment .
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It depends on the extent of your surgery and your situation. After a minor (decompressive) laminectomy, you can usually able do desk work and light housekeeping within a few days to a few weeks. If you also had spinal fusion, your recovery time will likely be longer, 2-4 months. You may not be able to lift and bend for 2-3 months. Start light walking for exercise and physical therapy exercises as soon as your doctor says you're ready. This will help speed your recovery.
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