Laminotomy is a type of a surgery that is done to remove a portion of the lamina and ligaments. During a laminotomy a portion of the lamina is removed to decompress a nerve, which might be the cause of neck or back pain.
The lamina is found at the back part of the spine which supports and protects the spinal canal. The spinal cord travels in the centre of the vertebrae through the spinal canal. Certain conditions such as spinal stenosis, herniated disc, bulging disc, degenerative disc disease and arthritis of the spine can compress or put pressure on the spinal cord causing pain, numbness and muscle weakness in the arms and legs.
Removing part of the lamina creates more space for the nerves and spinal cord to move freely. After the laminotomy procedure, the natural support of the lamina remains since only a portion of it is removed.
Types of Laminotomy
There are several types of laminotomy procedures, and these include:
- Cervical laminotomy: This is removal of part of the lamina in the cervical spine or neck area.
- Lumbar laminotomy: Is the removal of part of the lamina in the lumbar spine or lower back.
- Sacral laminotomy: Involves removing part of the lamina in the sacral spine or in the back between the pelvis or hipbones.
- Thoracic laminotomy: Removes part of the lamina in the thoracic spine or in the middle part of the back.
Depending on your condition, a laminotomy can be performed together with other procedures such as:
- Foraminotomy: This is another decompression procedure, such as laminotomy, that is used to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves.
- Discectomy: This is a herniated disc decompression surgery that involves the removal of part or all of the damaged intervertebral discs.
- Spinal fusion: This fuses or connects two or more vertebrae to assure stability of the spine.
Laminotomy can be performed using one of the following techniques:
- Microlaminotomy: This is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the use of an arthroscope. An arthroscope is a very small camera with a light that transmits interior body pictures to a screen that is viewed by the neurosurgeon while performing the surgery. Microlaminotomy causes minimal to zero damage to the surrounding tissues and organs hence less pain with shorter downtime.
- Open surgery: This involves a larger incision in the back over the affected vertebra. The length of the incision depends on the number of vertebrae that need to be treated. This technique allows the surgeon to directly view and access the target area.
What to Expect Following a Laminotomy
If a Microlaminotomy, which is a minimally invasive technique is performed, the patient can be discharged on the same day of the surgery or stay overnight depending on his condition. If the open surgery is performed, the patient may stay in hospital for a couple of days. Pain medication will be prescribed to control any discomfort during recovery. The patient will be encouraged to return to normal activities but at a gradual pace. Full recovery from the surgery should be expected after about four to six weeks.
NOTE: Duration of the procedure, downtime, and recovery vary on a case by case basis
At King’s College Hospital Dubai, we focus on offering an exemplary service, from initial consultation through to final diagnosis and treatment and beyond. Our multidisciplinary team of expert doctors, nurses, physio therapists are here to offer tailored management and treatment of your condition, and to answer any questions that you might have throughout your time with us. Whatever you need us for, we’re only a phone-call away.
Dr Nicandro Figueiredo is considered the best Spinal Surgeon in Dubai.
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