• When Is a Laminectomy Called For?

    A laminectomy is a type of orthopaedic surgery that involves removing the lamina, which is the back of a vertebra. This surgery is also known as a decompression surgery because it creates more space in the spinal canal, which relieves pressure on the spinal nerves. Not every patient with back pain is a good candidate for a laminectomy or other spinal surgery. An orthopaedic surgeon will consider a number of factors before deciding whether to recommend that a particular patient have this type of surgery.

    When the Symptoms Are Severe

    Patients might consider having a laminectomy when they experience severe symptoms of spinal conditions such as spinal stenosis, bone spur formation, or disc herniation. These patients may suffer from severe, persistent back pain, reduced mobility, and perhaps numbness and pain along a leg or an arm. Other severe symptoms can include the loss of bowel or bladder control. When the symptoms are severe enough to reduce quality of life or interfere with daily activities, it might be time to consult an orthopaedic surgeon about having a laminectomy.

    When Conservative Treatments Fail

    Unless patients experience very severe symptoms such as incontinence, they may be advised to try nonsurgical treatments first. An orthopaedic doctor may prescribe medications, perform spinal injections, recommend activity modification, and refer patients to a physical therapist. If these medical treatments do not provide sufficient relief of pain, then patients might consider having a laminectomy.

    When the Patient Fully Understands the Risks

    Before having any orthopaedic surgery, it’s important that the patient is fully aware of the potential risks involved. Every surgery carries some risk of complications, such as bleeding, infection, blood clots, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. For many patients, the low risk of surgical complications is outweighed by the benefit of treating the underlying problem to resolve existing symptoms.

    MK Orthopaedics provides comprehensive orthopaedic care in Joliet, including orthopaedic surgeries such as laminectomies. If you’ve been experiencing back pain, one of our orthopaedic surgeons can help you decide if a laminectomy is right for you. Call us at (815) 741-6900 with any questions you may have.