Laminectomy is the most common spinal surgery. It can be effective for a number of conditions, namely herniated disc. The condition occurs when one of the discs (the shock absorbers between spinal bones) degenerates or bulges out. It can be accompanied by significant pain and numbness in the back, neck, legs, or arms. In Iran, orthopedic surgeons and neurologists work hand in hand to use the latest medical techniques and offer satisfactory outcome for patients of any nationality.
Laminectomy involves cutting off the lamina which is part of the bone (vertebrae) that makes up the spine. The procedure can help take the pressure off the spinal cord and nerves. By removing the compression, the procedure can improve pain and other symptoms relating to herniated spinal disc, arthritis in the spine or spinal stenosis.
Laminectomy surgery can be performed within 1 to 4 hours. It includes 5 major steps:
Laminectomy is commonly operated as an open-back surgery but some patients can benefit from minimally invasive laminectomy surgery which is performed laparoscopically using a microscopic camera and small surgical tools. During this technique, only small one-inch long incisions are made. Laparoscopic lumbar laminectomy has two main advantages. The procedure involves making small incisions that aren't lengthier than an inch leading to almost indiscernible scars. Besides, it does not require a long recovery period; in most cases, the patient can start walking immediately after the surgery.
When multiple laminas are removed, your doctor may decide to perform spinal fusion after laminectomy; this is to secure the stability of the spine. The operation takes place by joining two vertebrae using a bone graft. The bone graft is usually grafted from the top of your hip. Hardware such as plates, screws, hooks or rods can also be utilized during spinal fusion. Performing spinal fusion in conjunction with laminectomy can increase the time to recover after the procedure.
While laminectomy can relieve the pressure on the nerves by removing the entire lamina, laminotomy can do so less invasively and without making large incisions. During a laminotomy, the surgeon makes a couple of small openings on the lamina to reduce compression. This minimally invasive procedure gets rid of the painful symptoms while leaving the spinal stability intact. Therefore, performing spinal fusion is rarely needed after a laminotomy.
Discs are positioned throughout the spine acting as shock absorbers between the spinal bones (the vertebrae). Bulging discs can cause damage to the nerves. Discectomy is a procedure to remove the bulging or herniated disc. Both laminectomy and discectomy aim at making extra space around the nerve root to reduce the compression. However, while laminectomy removes most or all of the lamina (a part of the vertebrae), discectomy cuts off the disc that is in between two individual vertebrae.
Candidates of laminectomy might experience severe pain in the back, shoulder, arms, and legs. The pain can even be accompanied by weakness or numbness that gets worse in the limbs or arms. When the symptoms do not improve with physiotherapy or medications such as steroid injections and anti-inflammatories, the orthopedist or neurologist might suggest laminectomy surgery. The compression of nerves can be caused by certain conditions:
In order to find out whether you need the laminectomy surgery, you can contact our healthcare professionals sending them the results of diagnostic tests such as MRI, CT or myelogram. They will reach out to you and provide you with the best possible solution. Through our platform, you can consult with experts for free.
An exact success rate cannot be stated because it could vary based on the reason behind the surgery, the technical method used, and the patient's age and health condition. A rough figure can be interpreted from a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin. According to the study, the majority of laminectomy patients reported that the pain was minimalized to great extents.
Because Iran is a hidden gem among all medical tourism destinations. According to the head of the Iranian Orthopedic Surgeons Association, Iran can offer quality orthopedic surgeries with the same success rate as countries such as the US, UK, France, Japan, and Germany. Add this to the fact that Iran is ranked as one of the top 10 countries for orthopedic surgeries. This has been the leading reason why people from different nations select Iran for their riskiest procedures.
As much as Iran is among the top 10 countries for orthopedic surgeries, it is not included in the list of most expensive ones. That is, you can receive high-quality medical service which is at par with that of pioneer countries at a price that is about 60% less.
Like all surgeries, laminectomy requires being attentive to pre-op instructions suggested by your doctor. Basically, most surgeons will recommend the following tips:
After the surgery, expect to spend 4 to 5 days in the hospital. You can gradually increase your activity level starting from day one. If spinal fusion has been performed, you might have to wear a brace for about 25 days.
Pain is normal
You might feel some pain. Certain measures are taken to ensure the pain is as minimal as possible. You might be prescribed pain medications or recommended to use ice compresses on the surgical area three or four times a day.
A change in daily habits
The first two weeks are crucial. During this period, you should avoid activities that involve bending, lifting or twisting. Driving is prohibited unless your surgeon advises you otherwise. Smoking and drinking alcohol should also be avoided. You might feel pain while doing some basic daily activities, stop whenever you felt uncomfortable. You can ask a friend to help you with bathing or getting dressed.
Caring for the incision
You should make sure the incision on your spine is clean and dry the whole time you are recovering. Ask your surgeon when and how you should take a shower with the incision still healing. Avoid soaking the incision by bathing or swimming in pools. Do not put any kind of lotion on your back. You might see a mild amount of drainage coming out of your incision. Contact your healthcare follow-up team if drainage was in large amounts or strange in color. After the 2-week period, you can visit your surgeon to remove your stitches.
Normally, you can leave Iran in 2 to 3 weeks. As the most reliable source, your surgeon will tell you about the exact amount of days you should wait before getting on the plane. Flights can lead to blood clots forming in your legs. Thus, it is important to do as your doctor suggests.
After most orthopedic surgeries, there will be some physical restrictions; a laminectomy is no exception. Almost all activities involve engaging our torso. Therefore, it is vital to pay more attention to your every movement after a laminectomy. In case you used to pursue a particular sport, you have to stop the exercises for at least three months after the surgery.
This doesn't mean you have to lie down on a bed during recovery. To help your bones and muscles regain their strength, you have to perform some recovery exercises. Immediately after the procedure, a physical therapist will come by to help you with the movements. This phase is known as low back rehab.
After the rehab sessions are over, you will have to focus more on maintaining a good posture and sticking to routine exercises that can prevent back pain in the future.
First and foremost, you can experience the optimal laminectomy outcome by walking on a daily basis. Walking is an excellent exercise to strengthen your back muscles and improve blood circulation. It can also help you get used to the straight posture. Another way to maintain a healthy spinal position is by sitting in the proper way; with your hips on the far end of your seat and your spine stable and straight.
Aside from walking and maintaining a posture suitable for your delicate situation, you can also benefit from certain exercises:
Yes. Repeat laminectomy is possible for patients who do not observe pain relief after the first procedure.
After laminectomy, the bone can grow back again causing compression on the nerves root.
You cannot engage in strenuous exercises that involve bending or lifting heavy things for at least 3 months after the surgery. However, you can start the physical therapy exercises or short distance walking as soon as your doctor suggests.
As with any major surgery, a laminectomy can be followed by possible complications. One of the least likely risks of back surgery is paralysis.