What Is A Laminectomy?

A laminectomy is a surgery to remove the lamina, or the back part of the vertebrae that covers your spinal canal. This involves removing a section of the bony covering over the back of the spinal canal to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves.

Why Is A Laminectomy Performed?

A laminectomy is typically performed to treat a condition known as spinal stenosis, otherwise known as a narrowing of the spinal canal. This occurs when an injury, such as a sudden jolt from a construction accident or slip and fall, reduces the amount of space available within the spine, which causes dislocations or fractures of one or more vertebrae. Many times our clients who are suffering from spinal stenosis need a laminectomy. This procedure will only be suggested if (1) more conservative treatments have not helped; (2) you are disabled by your symptoms; and (3) you are in otherwise good health.

How Long Will My Recovery Take?

Just as with any surgery your recovery time will depend on you. Most patients are able to get out of bed within a few hours after surgery, and typically patients can leave the hospital the day after surgery. You will be instructed not to drive between one and two weeks. Generally you will be able to get back or perform light duty activities in about four weeks, and you can resume more strenuous work and sports activities after about two to three months. You may also be prescribed outpatient physical therapy which will begin approximately four to six weeks after surgery. In considering to undergo this procedure you should be aware that a full recovery may take up to four months.

What Should I Expect During Physical Therapy And Recovery?

Most clients need physical therapy for approximately four to six weeks. The initial treatment will include ice and electrical stimulation to manage pain and inflammation. As you progress and gain strength you will begin performing more active treatment such as walking and swimming. The goal is to help tone and control the muscles that stabilize your back. You may begin with simple activities such as getting dressed and undressed, and how to get out of bed. Then the therapist will train you in new movement habits that will help keep your back in safe positions as you go about work and daily activities. Also during this stage you may be taught how to keep your back safe while lifting and carrying items.

As your condition improves you will likely be transitioned into "work hardening." In this program the therapist tailors your physical therapy to help prepare you to get back to work. Although this is promising, please be aware that if your job is particularly strenuous you may not be able to go back to your previous job. The ultimate goal is to prepare you to perform tasks that will keep your back safe and free of extra strain.

Contact Attorney Doug Stoehr if you had to undergo a laminectomy due to another's fault. To schedule a free consultation, Contact our west central Pennsylvania law firm by calling 814-946-4100 or click here to Email us.