If you have back pain, weakness or numbness that radiates down your arms or legs, or makes it difficult to walk or stand, you might be suffering from compression of the spinal cord or cauda equina (the bag that contains the nerve that go to your lower extremities).
Depending on the location of your pinched nerve and the severity of your pain, you may benefit from a type of decompression surgery known as a minimally invasive laminectomy. Your HonorHealth neurosurgeon may recommend this when non-surgical treatments like physical therapy, injection therapy and medication haven't been effective.
One of the most common types of back surgery, a minimally invasive laminectomy typically is used to treat nerve compression resulting from the development of bony overgrowths, often caused by arthritis, in the spinal column.
During laminectomy, your surgeon will remove the lamina, the back part of one or more vertebrae, the bones surrounding the spinal cord. A laminectomy may also involve removing bone spurs, overgrowths and ligaments compressing a nerve. This widens the space within the spinal column so that the nerves are no longer pinched. While laminectomy can't cure arthritis, it can help alleviate its painful and debilitating symptoms and side effects.
Depending on the severity of your condition, the location of your pinched nerve, and other factors, your surgeon may also recommend:
- Spinal fusion to help stabilize the affected area
- Discectomy to remove a slipped or herniated disc that's contributing to your pain
Recovery from laminectomy
While some patients can go home the same day, you'll probably spend at least one night in the hospital for observation.
So that your body can heal, formal physical therapy doesn't usually start until about a month after surgery. However, you're encouraged to walk daily, increasing the distance each day. When you begin physical therapy, you'll work to increase your range of motion, core strength and overall back health.
You should be able to resume training exercises about three months after surgery.