Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is Laminectomy?
Laminectomy is a surgical process in which lamina is completely removed to decrease the pressure on the spinal cord. The lamina is the back portion of the vertebra which helps in covering the spinal canal.
How much does Laminectomy cost?
The cost of Laminectomy in India may vary according to the following factor
- Admission fee
- Doctor fee
- Age of the patient
- The medical condition of the patient
- Post-surgical complications that are involved
- Type of hospital
- The admission room that you opted for
Minimum charges in Mumbai starts from Rs.60,500
Average cost in Mumbai is approximately Rs.1,07,800
Maximum price in Mumbai may rise up to Rs.1,35,00
Right specialist’s type for Laminectomy?
Laminectomy can be done by a certified Orthopedic surgeon or Neurosurgeon who is specialized and experienced in spine surgery.
Is Laminectomy safe?
Laminectomy is considered safe when performed by experienced and skilled Neurosurgeons or Orthopedic surgeons.
Laminectomy is performed on what area of the body?
Laminectomy is performed at the back of your vertebra [lamina] that covers your spinal cord.
Is Laminectomy the same as discectomy?
No, a laminectomy is not same as discectomy. Laminectomy is the surgical removal of lamina whereas discectomy is the surgical removal of the entire intervertebral disc or just a part of an intervertebral disc.
Is Laminectomy the same as Laminotomy?
Laminectomy is different from laminotomy. Laminotomy is a surgical procedure where only a small portion or multiple portions are removed. Whereas in laminectomy, the complete lamina is removed surgically. If the lamina is removed only on one side, then it is called a hemilaminectomy.
How long does Laminectomy take?
In this procedure, the surgeon will be performing a foraminotomy to widen the area of the spine where nerve roots are present. Generally, laminectomy takes 1-3 hours to complete.
Why Laminectomy is done?
Spinal stenosis is a condition where the small spinal canal is compressed and creates a pressure on the spinal cord which leads to neck and lower back pain and numbness. So, to relieve this pressure on the spinal cord, the laminectomy is done.
DoesLaminectomy weaken the spine?
There are some complications and risks associated with the laminectomy. There is less chance for laminectomy to cause weak spine.
How successful is Laminectomy surgery?
Laminectomy has 60-80% of success rate and helps to improve the walking ability.
What is post Laminectomy syndrome?
Laminectomy is performed to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots which leads to reducing the pain in the neck and back region. So, even after the laminectomy is performed, some patients may still suffer from the pain in the spine or the pain even gets worse. This failure of laminectomy is called as a post-laminectomy syndrome or Failed back or neck syndrome or Failed back surgery syndrome [FBSS].
Does Laminectomy cause instability?
Laminectomy is safe for a few patients while it may cause some complications to others. Patients with reduced strength and restricted lumbar motion segments are vulnerable to instability after the surgery.
What is Laminectomy recovery time?
In a minor Laminectomy, recovery time is about a few weeks and the individual is able to do light housekeeping and desk work. If laminectomy is done with other surgery, then the recovery will be long and takes about two (2) to four (4) months.
Is Laminectomy covered by insurance?
Laminectomy may be covered under your insurance depending on what plan you take and from what company you are insured.
Can a Laminectomy be done twice?
There are few cases where the pressure on spinal cord reoccurs even after the success of the first laminectomy. In such cases, your doctor may suggest the second laminectomy. The second laminectomy may be called as revision laminectomy.
You may also want to know
Laminectomy is a surgical procedure in which complete lamina [Lamina is the back portion of the vertebra which helps in covering the spinal canal] is removed. With this procedure, pressure on the spinal nerves and spinal cord is decreased or eliminated. Laminectomy helps in relieving the pain in the neck and back region. Sometimes bone spurs [excessive growth of the bone] are also removed because of the pressure on the spinal cord.
The pressure on the spinal cord may cause:
- Difficulty in walking
- Mild to severe back pain
- Numbness or weakness in the legs
- Uncontrolled bladder or uncontrolled bowel movements
But this surgical procedure is only performed if the above symptoms affect the quality of your life.
Indications for Laminectomy are the following:
- Sciatica [Pain in the lower back, thighs, hips, and buttocks on either of one side].
- Osteoarthritis [Breakdown of the joint cartilage and the underlying bone].
- Herniated disc [rupture of the soft center of the spinal cord and pushes the nucleus on nerves present between the rubbery disks].
- Spinal stenosis [pain and weakness in the spine due to compression on the spinal canal which contains spinal nerve roots and spinal cord].
- Ankylosing spondylitis [It is a type of arthritis where the spinal bone fuse together and cause stiffness, restricted movement, and mild to severe pain].
Eligible criteria for Laminectomy
Individuals who are suffering from the following conditions are eligible for Laminectomy:
- Severe back and neck pain
- Trouble in walking and standing
- Loss of lower extremity reflex
- Loss of skin sensation in the back and leg region
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
- Unbearable leg pain
- Spinal stenosis
- Age between 40-75 years
Individuals who do not respond to the treatments like physiotherapy, pain killers, and other non-surgical methods to relieve severe back, leg, and spinal pain are eligible to undergo the laminectomy.
Ineligible criteria for Laminectomy
Individuals who are having the following conditions may not eligible to have a Laminectomy.
- People having infections or severe health issues.
- If physiotherapy or medical treatments like using painkillers, sedatives, injections help to relieve the pain, then laminectomy is not needed.
- Individuals using blood thinners.
- If the occurrence of the symptoms is very rare.
Before deciding which is the best option to relieve the symptoms, consult your doctor and make a decision.
Right specialist’s type for Laminectomy
Laminectomy can be performed by a certified Orthopedic surgeon or Neurosurgeon who is specialized and experienced in spine surgery.
Steps of Laminectomy
During a Laminectomy, the following steps are followed:
- The patient will be given a sterile gown to wear and asked to lie on back.
- A mask will be placed over your face by the anesthesiologist which will deliver oxygen gas and anesthetic gas. Soon after a few breaths, you will be unconscious.
- After you are asleep, you will be rolled in such a way that the stomach, chest, and sides are facing down and supported by a pillow.
- All the vital signs such as blood pressure, respiration rate, and heart rate, etc. are monitored carefully.
- Medicines will be given intravenously to reduce pain and help you to relax.
- A plastic tube is inserted into your trachea (windpipe) through your mouth and vocal cords. This is usually done by your anesthesiologist. This process is known as intubation.
- With the help of a ventilator (breathing machine), the air is pumped in and out of the lungs. Throughout the operation, your vitals are continuously monitored.
- The area where the incision needs to be made is cleaned and prepared.
- Then the incision is made over the appropriate vertebrae by your surgeon. The length of the incision depends on how many laminectomies are needed to be performed.
- The back muscles are split in such a way that the lamina of each vertebra is visible.
- After the bone is visible, an X-ray is performed to check the proper vertebra where the pressure exists.
- Then the surgeon will remove the bony lamina of each affected vertebrae is removed along with thickened ligaments. This is performed with the help of a drill or bone-biting tools.
- Sometimes, your surgeon may remove small or large portions of the spinal bones based on the severity of the condition.
- After this process, your surgeon will stitch down the incisions made with staples or sutures.
- Anesthesia gas will be stopped and the tube inserted is removed.
Post-procedure care/ recovery after Laminectomy
- Once the surgical procedure is done, you will be shifted to the postoperative ward and kept under observation. Your vital signs will be continuously monitored.
- You will be discharged from the hospital after 1-3 days of surgery.
Your doctor may provide you some instructions to follow and they are the following:
- You may have back pain for a few days and if it is severe, take the pain killers.
- Drink lots of water and eat fiber-rich food items.
- Avoid some activities like bending, lifting, and twisting for the next 2-4 weeks.
- Should not have sex for almost 4 weeks.
- Do not consume alcohol after the surgery until you discussed with your doctor.
- Should not smoke or chew nicotine products as this may slow down the healing process.
- Walk for about 5-10 minutes every 3-5 hours.
- Do not apply any lotions or creams or ointments on the site of the incision.
- If the site of incision shows signs of infection like redness, swelling and pain consult your doctor immediately.
If you have a high fever and the symptoms are not improving, then consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Risks/ complications associated with Laminectomy
Every medical surgery has its own advantages along with some risks and complications. So, the risks and complications associated with laminectomy are the following:
- Infection to the spine
- Nerve damage
- Leakage of the spinal fluid
- Worsening of the back pain
- Blood clots in the legs
- Damage to the vertebral bones
- Maybe a failure of the surgery
Advantages of Laminectomy
It helps in decompressing the spinal cord by removing the lamina.
- Reduces severe spinal pain
- Relieves the neck and back pain
- Improves the stability of the spine
- Removes the bone spurs [excessive growth of the bone]
- Increases the quality of the spine
Long term outcome/results of Laminectomy
Laminectomy helps in relieving the spinal pain, back pain, and numbness and weakness of the legs. In long terms, it may cause instability and sometimes, it may even worsen the symptoms such as muscle weakness and spinal pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your doctor for further assistance.
The success rate of Laminectomy
Laminectomy has 60-80% success rate and helps to improve the walking ability, reduce the severe pain in the neck and back region, and relieve the numbness and weakness of the legs and buttocks.
Options if Laminectomy is not successful
Laminectomy is done to remove the pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves. If this procedure fails to remove the pressure, then it is considered as a failed back syndrome or post-laminectomy syndrome. So, to reduce the symptoms of post-laminectomy syndrome other treatments such as:
- Use of painkillers [NSAID’s]
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Intrathecal morphine pump
- Minor nerve blocks
- Membrane stabilizers
- Microcurrent electrical neuromuscular stimulator
If symptoms don’t reduce even after these methods, then once again laminectomy or laminotomy may be suggested by your doctor.
Alternatives of Laminectomy
Laminectomy should be considered if medical treatment and physiotherapy fail to reduce the spinal problems like restricted movement, severe pain in the neck and back region.
Some alternatives to Laminectomy are the following:
- Laminotomy [Neurosurgical procedure in which a part of the lamina is removed]
- Foraminotomy [Surgery that is performed to enlarge the passageway for the spinal nerves that exit from the spinal canal]
- Microendoscopic decompression
- Interspinous process spacer