Back or leg pain can hinder normal daily activities. If conservative treatment isn’t successful in eliminating or reducing your pain, a surgical treatment called laminectomy, or surgical decompression, may be recommended. This treatment involves a surgeon removing part or all of the vertebral bone (lamina) to relieve compression of your spinal cord or nerve roots. Laminectomy is only considered after medical treatments have not been successful.

Reasons for laminectomy include:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated disk
  • Arthritis of the spine
  • Paget’s disease
  • Spine tumor
  • Traumatic injury

The Northwell Health Neuroscience Institute approach

At the Northwell Health Neuroscience Institute, our surgeons use the most advanced techniques for treating spinal stenosis, including lumbar laminectomy. Our goal is to enable you to regain mobility and return to an active life as quickly as possible. From diagnosis to treatment, our spine specialists are here for you every step of the way. 

Laminectomy risks

The risks of lumbar laminectomy include:

  • Damage to the spinal nerve
  • Unsuccessful treatment that can result in persistent post-surgery pain
  • Infection
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leak

There are also general risks of any surgery which include:

  • Blood clots
  • Blood loss
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • A reaction to medication

Laminectomy post-treatment

After your laminectomy, you will be taken to a recovery room for observation. Once you are alert and your vital signs have stabilized, you will be taken to a hospital room. Laminectomy typically requires a hospital stay of one or more days. During your stay, you will begin getting out of bed and walking. Pain will be controlled with medication.

Once home, you will need to keep your surgical incision clean and dry. You will be given specific bathing instructions, and stitches will be removed during a follow-up appointment. Notify your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Fever
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling or redness at the incision site
  • Numbness in your legs, buttocks or back
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control