Laminotomy is a surgical procedure involving the removal of a portion of the lamina to relieve pressure over the spinal cord and/or nerve roots. The lamina is a thin bony layer covering the spinal cord. Despite the removal of the lamina, the spinal cord remains protected by a bony column. The procedure increases the space around the surrounding nerves and the spinal cord, relieving the pressure over them. A laminotomy is also used to treat patients with spinal deformities.


Some spinal conditions for which a laminotomy is indicated include ankylosing spondylitis, herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, sciatica, and spondylosis. Laminotomy may also be performed as a part of another spinal surgery such as removal of a herniated disc or spinal tumor.


Laminotomy can be performed either through the endoscopic/minimally invasive approach or the traditional approach and is performed under general anesthesia. In traditional open surgery, the incisions are longer than those used for minimally invasive surgery. In endoscopic or minimally invasive approach, a tube with a camera at one of its ends is inserted through a small incision to gain access to the affected nerve root.  A small hole is made in the lamina and a minute portion of the bone is removed. The spinal cord and the nerves are decompressed and the incision is closed. 

After surgery

You may be hospitalized for up to 2 days after the procedure depending on the type of approach. Patients who undergo minimally invasive surgery may be discharged the same day. You should avoid lifting heavy weight and twisting movements for about six weeks after the procedure to promote healing.


The possible risks and complications associated with laminotomy include nerve root damage, cerebrospinal fluid leakage, bleeding, and allergic reaction to anesthesia.

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