Laminectomy Surgery

Understanding Laminectomy Surgery, Risks and Recovery

Laminectomy Surgery in Birmingham and Hoover, Alabama

Back pain can wreak havoc on your everyday life, but a laminectomy may be able to help relieve your pain. A laminectomy is a common type of surgery that helps release pressure building up on the spinal cord, decreasing your pain and increasing your overall quality of life. Southlake Orthopaedics is a multi-specialty orthopedic practice located in Hoover and Birmingham-Grandview and serving central Alabama with comprehensive medical care. We offer comprehensive orthopedic services, including spinal surgery. Here, we’ll share more information about laminectomy surgery and how it can be helpful for patients with back pain.

What Is Laminectomy Surgery?

As people age, they may experience back or nerve pain caused by a variety of issues. One of those is when the lamina, or bony arches, that stick out from the spine put pressure on nerves or the spinal cord and cause pain, weakness, or numbness. If your doctor suspects the lamina is causing your backaches, they may recommend laminectomy, a surgery that involves removing the lamina and reducing the pressure on the spine. When the surgeon removes the lamina, they create more space in the spinal canal and therefore reduce pressure and pain.

Conditions That Can Be Treated With a Laminectomy

Laminectomy surgery can be used to treat several conditions that cause back pain, including:

  • Back injury or fracture
  • Herniated disk
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Tumors or abscesses
  • Degeneration or arthritis of the spine


A laminectomy can be used alone or as part of a decompression surgery, but it will typically be used only when more conservative treatments like medication and physical therapy haven’t worked. The procedure can also be recommended if symptoms are advancing quickly or are severe.

What to Expect During the Procedure

The process of a laminectomy is like any other surgery, where you’re given general anesthesia to put you to sleep and your vital signs are monitored. Depending on the condition and the affected area, a laminectomy can be minimally invasive using smaller incisions and specialized equipment or an open surgery with larger incisions. The process of the surgery involves:

  • The patient lying on their stomach and the surgeon making an incision over the afflicted area in the back.
  • The surgeon will sufficiently isolate the spine from the skin, muscles, and ligaments to get a clear view.
  • The surgeon will remove the lamina and any other bone spurs or small disk fragments.
  • The surgeon will close the incision with sutures and bandage it up.


With certain spinal conditions, the surgeon may want to perform more than one procedure at a time to maximize your healing with only one surgery. These include spinal fusions, discectomy, and foraminotomy. Depending on how invasive the surgery was, the patient may go home the same day or stay in the hospital for a few days. Medication is often prescribed to lessen discomfort after the surgery.

Rear view of a man holding his back in pain

Laminectomy Surgery Risks

As with any surgery, there are risks involved in a laminectomy. However, trusting your surgery to the board-certified orthopedic team at Southlake Orthopaedics with plenty of experience can help give you peace of mind. Risks involved with a laminectomy include:

  • Spinal nerve damage
  • Infection
  • Return of back pain
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leak


There are also general risks of surgery such as bleeding, blood clots, breathing difficulties, and medical or anesthesia problems. Working with a multi-specialty orthopedic practice helps ensure you’ll be taken care of and given the highest quality of orthopedic services.

Laminectomy Surgery Recovery

After laminectomy surgery, patients should take it easy for a few days and avoid strenuous activity, heavy lifting, and swimming to prevent issues with the incision site. It’s also important for patients to gradually increase their activity and attend all follow-up appointments.

Around 70 to 80 percent of patients experience significant relief from their back pain and symptoms after a laminectomy. However, it’s necessary to know that the surgery doesn’t correct the underlying problems that are causing the pain, such as arthritis, and symptoms may eventually come back.

Why Choose Southlake Orthopaedics for a Laminectomy?

At Southlake Orthopaedics, we provide personalized and compassionate care for every patient, using the most advanced medical technology available. We specialize in orthopedics, and our medical team includes expertise in every orthopedic specialty. With locations in Hoover and Birmingham-Grandview, we are conveniently located for patients in central Alabama.

Find Advanced Surgical Care for Spine Conditions and Injuries at Southlake Orthopaedics

If your back pain and pressure are impacting your daily life and other treatment options haven’t relieved them, a laminectomy can be a suitable treatment for you. Trust the board-certified multi-specialty physicians at Southlake Orthopaedics to provide complete orthopedic services from diagnosis to rehabilitation. Contact us today to learn more about our advanced spinal care in Central Alabama.