A laminotomy is a surgical procedure that is a smaller version of a laminectomy. Instead of removing the lamina, a small window is made in the lamina to relieve pressure on nerves. It is used to treat spinal stenosis and sciatica. It is minimally invasive, has a short recovery time and leaves little scar tissue. It is essentially the same as a microdiscectomy with the exception that no disc is removed. A Laminotomy typically takes 30 to 45 minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis.
A laminotomy is typically recommended for patients who have:
- A herniated disc
- Experienced leg pain for at least six weeks
- Not found sufficient pain relief with conservative treatment, such as physical therapy or oral steroids
- Spinal stenosis
Impingement on the nerve roots can cause considerable leg pain. While it may take months for the nerve root to fully heal, patients normally feel relief from leg pain almost immediately.
The success rate for this particular spine surgery is 90-95 percent. Some patients may experience a recurrent stenosis and the procedure does not stop the natural degenerative aging of the spine.
If a laminotomy is not performed on an outpatient basis, there may be an overnight stay in the hospital that is required. Post-operatively, patients may quickly return to a normal level of daily activity.
Following a laminotomy an exercise program of stretching, strengthening and aerobic conditioning is recommended to speed the healing process.