Lumbar laminectomy is a procedure used to treat spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal that is usually associated with aging) in the lumbar (lower back) vertebrae. The narrowing causes excessive pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves, often causing symptoms such as numbness and weakness.
Nonsurgical treatment options may include pain medication, educating the patient about pain management techniques, exercise, physical therapy, or weight reduction. Evaluation of surgery as a treatment option depends on such factors as the severity of symptoms and the success level of nonsurgical management efforts.
Lumbar laminectomy involves removing a portion of the lamina, the arch-like portion of a vertebra that covers the spinal cord on the dorsal (back) side. The procedure creates more space in the spinal canal and relieves pressure on nerves. Dr. O’Shea uses a minimally invasive method that allows the lamina to be accessed and removed through a small incision in the back.
In some cases it is also necessary, in conjunction with a laminectomy, to stabilize the spine by fusing vertebrae together, inserting a bone graft and allowing time for natural bone growth.