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Lumbar Laminectomy

A lumbar laminectomy is also known as an open decompression and is typically performed to alleviate pain caused by neural impingement that results from lumbar spinal stenosis. A condition that primarily afflicts elderly patients, spinal stenosis is caused by degenerative changes that result in enlargement of the facet joints. The enlarged joints then place pressure on the nerves. This pressure may be effectively relieved with the laminectomy. The lumbar laminectomy removes a small portion of the bone over the nerve root and/or disc material from under the nerve root to give the nerve root more space and a better healing environment. Post laminectomy, a patient’s activity level returning to normal is largely dependent on his/her pre-operative condition and age. Patients are encouraged to walk directly following a laminectomy for lumbar stenosis. However, we recommend that patients avoid excessive bending, lifting or twisting for six weeks after this surgery in order to avoid pulling on the suture line before it heals.