Laminectomy (whether unilateral or bilateral) refers to the surgical removal of the lamina of a vertebral body. By removing the lamina, we are able to decompress the spinal canal, and thus reduce the pressure on the spinal cord.

Spinal stenosis may be caused by:

  • arthritis of the spine (in older patients)
  • intervertebral disc degeneration
  • congenital defects (e.g. abnormal growth of the spine, achondroplasia)
  • Paget disease of the bone
  • trauma to the spine
  • space-occupying lesion within or surrounding the spine
  • The most commonly affected region is the lumbar spine.

    A lumbar laminectomy is performed for patients with symptomatic, painful spinal stenosis, often occurring at multiple (> 3 vertebrae) levels of the spine.

    The surgical procedure includes:

  • removal of the spinous processes
  • removal of the lamina and identify origin of ligamentum flavum
  • resection of the ligamentum flavum
  • fusing the joint prevents the spinal stenosis from recurring and can help eliminate pain from an unstable segment
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