Laminectomy Surgery in Fairfield County, CT
A laminectomy is a surgical intervention for treating spinal stenosis. In spinal stenosis, there is a narrowing in various areas of the spine where nerve roots run. The narrowing can compress the nerve roots, causing radiating pain and numbness. This compression is often caused by bony overgrowths within the spinal canal, which is common for people with arthritis in their spines. Spinal stenosis is more common in people over 50 or those who suffer from arthritis.
A laminectomy opens up your spinal canal so spinal nerves are no longer compressed. The bony arch that forms the backside of the spinal canal (lamina) is removed by the surgeon, along with ligaments or bone spurs that may be further compressing the spinal cord. The laminectomy procedure can make the vertebrae less stable, so a spinal fusion involving bone grafts (and sometimes screws and rods) is often performed at the same time to stabilize the spine. Two other procedures may be performed as well: a discectomy (removal of discs between vertebrae) and a foraminotomy (widening of opening where spinal nerves leave spine). This pressure is most commonly caused by bony overgrowths within the spinal canal, which can occur in people who have arthritis in their spines.
Laminectomies are also necessary when the lamina has to be removed in order for a surgeon to gain access to treat a herniated spinal disc.
When is Laminectomy an Appropriate Treatment for Your Condition?
Spinal stenosis symptoms worsen over time, but the progression is a slow one. Non-invasive measures like medication, braces, injections and physical therapy are the first line of defense. Although a laminectomy is not without risk, it has the potential to alleviate the symptoms of spinal stenosis when traditional treatments have failed to produce the results you seek, or if symptoms worsen. Doctors generally will recommend a laminectomy when your symptoms are severe and interfere with your work performance and daily life. Symptoms include:
- Numbness, weakness, cramping, or pain in your arms or legs
- Pain travelling down the leg
- Foot complications
- Trouble controlling or emptying your bowel or bladder
- Heaviness or weakness in your legs or buttock area
- Worsening symptoms when standing or walking
Laminectomies are generally more successful at resolving pain that radiates (into arms, legs, buttocks) rather than actual back pain.
What to Expect from Your Laminectomy
Before the procedure, your doctor will determine the location of your nerve compression using a combination of the following diagnostic options: physical exam, medical history, x-ray, CT scan or MRI. Prior to your laminectomy, it is important to report all medical conditions, medications, herbal supplements or vitamins, especially anti-coagulant (blood thinning) substances.
A laminectomy – always an inpatient procedure – is conducted under general anesthesia and can last 1-3 hours and your hospital stay is usually 1-3 days. Recovery time is normally 4-6 weeks, but can take up to 6 months if a spinal fusion was performed at the same time. Laminectomy risk factors include: infection, blood clots, unstable spine, nerve injury including weakness, numbness or paralysis, tears, loss of bowel or bladder control, long-term chronic pain and, in rare cases, death. With a spinal fusion, another risk is the development of spinal issues above and below the site of the fusion.
If you've been suffering from symptoms of spinal stenosis, a laminectomy can be a relatively safe and effective alternative to non-surgical treatment modalities. Request more information about a laminectomy today. Call (929) 244-4466 or contact Manhattan Integrative Medicine online.
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