Lumbar Laminectomy with Fusion for Spinal Decompression
Lumbar laminectomy with fusion is a spine surgery used to reduce or entirely remove pressure being put on the lumbar area of the spinal cord or spinal nerves by making the spinal canal larger, and then adding spinal stability with fusion. This pressure can be caused by conditions like spinal stenosis, or the presence of bone spurs. A lumbar laminectomy differs from other forms of spinal decompression surgery in that it involves the removal of part of the back part of the vertebrae that covers the spinal cord – the lamina. A bone graft is then used to fuse the affected vertebrae for spinal stability.
A lumbar laminectomy with fusion is typically done after more conservative, nonoperative treatments have failed to produce satisfactory relief of pain the back or extremities. It may also become necessary when a patient begins to experience muscle numbness or weakness, or a loss of bowel or bladder control. A laminectomy may also become part of a discectomy procedure if a surgeon decides he or she needs to remove a portion of the lamina in order to access the herniated disc causing issues with the spinal nerves.
Lumbar Laminectomy with Fusion Procedure Specifics
In a lumbar laminectomy with fusion, an incision is made in the back of the patient over the area where the affected vertebrae are located. Once the associated muscles have been moved out of the way, the surgeon is able to remove the appropriate lamina using small surgical instruments.
Removing the lamina alone may be enough to provide an enlarged spinal canal space that will take the pressure off of the nerves and cord. However, in some cases degenerated or ruptured discs will also have to be removed.
A laminectomy will include a fusion component if a patient has experienced slippage of the vertebrae or has a curvature of the spine. The surgeon will fuse the affected vertebrae using a bone graft.
Patients will be asked to limit their vigorous activity for a few months following a laminectomy. This includes heavy lifting, twisting, bending and stooping. A lumbar laminectomy with fusion will take longer to fully recover from than laminectomy procedures without a fusion component, possibly up to six months.