Laminectomy is a complex back operation which involves the removal of a piece of bone known as the lamina. Despite this, it is rarely the lamina which is the actual cause of the back pain being treated. More often, the lamina has to be removed to allow the other parts of the spine and discs to be manipulated into place during further surgery. Other reasons for carrying out this operation include allowing the surgeon access to the raw nerve ends which may be causing acute pain to the sufferer, and to break a circle of bone which has become rigid.
As this procedure is highly invasive in the vast majority of cases, it is something which should only be carried out when all other options have been exhausted. There are many situations where manipulative treatments can be tried, to see if there is a chance of the condition being treated without the need for surgery. Obviously, no-one wants to keep a patient in pain for the sake of false hope, so diagnostics is the most crucial phase of this type of back treatment.
When the high technology which is available to modern surgeons is added to the expertise which is still routinely found among back specialists, there is no reason why an accurate diagnosis cannot be made in every single case. An accurate print can now be created, showing the surgeon exactly what the problem is with any given condition. If lamina removal is going to be part of the answer, the surgeon should be able to know this beyond doubt, and be able to pinpoint the exact place where the incision needs to be made.
The good news is that there are some mild cases of back pain where the full incision using as general anesthetic is not needed. These operations can be carried out with a series of small incisions, under a local anesthetic. It will only be possible to remove small parts of the lamina bone, but it should never be assumed that more than this is needed without good reason. If the lamina can simply be modified, rather than entirely removed, it will be easier to stabilize the position of the back following the surgery.
If a full laminectomy is needed, complete with general anesthetic, the patient will obviously need far longer to recover from the procedure. Even after recovery from the effects of the anesthetic, and the basic adjustment to the newly reconstructed spine, there will still be a need to recondition the body to adopt a posture which will not aggravate the spine or discs. This can best be done gradually, during an initial period where rest is made a priority. If the initial period is successfully negotiated, it should then get progressively easier to cope with the effects of a laminectomy.