Reasons, Preparation & Procedure To Conduct Decompressive Laminectomy

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Spinal stenosis is a condition characterized by the narrowing of the spaces in the backbone that results in an increase in the amount of pressure applied to the spinal cord. The condition is a more common occurrence amongst people over the age of 50, but younger individuals may also experience it as a result of hereditary where the condition is passed down from one generation to another within the same bloodline. The condition will cause the affected individual a significant amount of pain, cramping and numbness in the legs as well as the shoulders, arms and neck. Some individuals may also experience some bladder and bowel malfunctions. Decompressive laminectomy for spinal stenosis is the most common and effective type of surgery used to treat spinal stenosis. The procedure is focused on relieving pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots.

Decompressive laminectomy for spinal stenosis is also used to treat other medical ailments including injury to the spinal cord, tumors as well as herniated discs. After decompressive laminectomy recovery, the patient is usually able to resume all daily activities without any sensation of pain or discomfort. When the same procedure is performed on the neck or cervical area, it is known as cervical decompressive laminectomy.

Reason for Decompressive Laminectomy

Decompressive laminectomy for spinal sterosis is performed when a significant amount of pain prevents an individual from performing his or her daily activities. Some individuals may also experience a loss of control over their bowel movements and bladder.


A patient will usually be admitted into a hospital on the morning of the procedure and should abstain from consuming any food or drink anytime after midnight. An intravenous (IV) line will be placed in the arms to administer any pre surgery medication.


The patient will be asked to lie on his or her back on top of an operative table and be given an anesthetic. Once the anesthetic has taken effect, the limp body is then turned over on its stomach and the area of surgery will be prepped and cleansed. The procedure will then progress to phases that include decompression of the spinal cord and decompression of the spinal nerve before the muscle and skin incisions are sewn together with staples or sutures. Decompressive laminectomy recovery is known to relieve leg pain in about 70% of all patients, while 17% of all back pain cases in adults may require a second operation.