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Lumbar Laminectomy Surgery

Back pain is a problem that affects up to 80 percent of people at some time in their lives. Often, this pain centers on the lower back, or lumbar, region of the spine. Low back pain is often caused by degeneration from normal wear and tear on spinal bones. These changes cause narrowing in the lower spine and pressure on the nerves that run inside the channel of bones. Lumbar laminectomy can help to relieve the pain caused by this spinal stenosis.

Lumbar Pain Symptoms

Lumbar stenosis, the narrowing of the canal that contain the nerves that run from the spine to the lower body, can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, including lower back pain, numbness or tingling in the legs, pain in the buttocks and leg stiffness. In severe cases, loss of bladder or bowel control can occur. However, severity of symptoms may not reflect the amount of narrowing in the spinal canal. Treatment is determined on symptoms rather than strictly on test results.

Treatment For Lumbar Pain

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications can help relieve pain from spinal stenosis. Steroid injections into the spine can also help to reduce pain and inflammation. Exercise aids in strengthening the muscles that surround the lower back which can be helpful in reducing pain. Physical therapy is sometimes prescribed to educate the patient on better techniques of movement. Physicians often recommend a weight loss program to help reduce the pressure on the lower back. When these measures fail, the physician may determine that lumbar laminectomy surgery is needed to relieve pain.

In a complete lumbar laminectomy, an incision is made in the skin of the lower back and the soft tissues are separated to expose the spine. After cutting into the facet joint, the surgeon cuts into the lamina of the spine and removes small spurs and pieces of bone that cause the narrowing inside the spinal column. A small amount of ligamentum flavum may also be removed to make room for the nerves. The facet joints are trimmed to enlarge the diameter of the channel to allow more room for nerves. The incision is then closed. The patient must go through a period of recovery to allow the area to heal.

Laminectomy Recovery

Laser spine surgery has reduced the recovery time for patients who require this procedure. Walking is encouraged shortly after surgery. Activities such as twisting, lifting or bending should be avoided for six weeks after surgery. Laminectomy recovery is generally without complications for most patients when they follow physician instructions.

Most patients suffering from neck and back pain receive help in the form of a mixture of physical therapy, medication, and spinal injections in specific areas. However, patients sometimes experience pain despite these procedures. In these cases, other types of procedures can be helpful in reducing pain for these types of patients.


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