A Hemilaminectomy, also called Laminotomy, is a spine surgery that involves removing a part of one or both laminae on a vertebra by enlarging the spinal canal to relieve pressure from compressed nerves of the spinal cord. Spinal nerves may become compressed by bone spurs caused by spinal arthritis, a herniated disc, degenerative disc diseases, spinal stenosis, spinal injury, or spinal cord and brain tumors.
Who Needs Lumbar Hamilaminectomy?
A Hemilaminectomy is recommended when a patient has the following symptoms:
- The patient has suffered a spinal injury or has been diagnosed with a disease or disorder, which is compressing spinal nerves. Tumors of the brain and spine may also compress spinal nerves.
- Patient is experiencing acute neck pain, numbness in the legs, radicular pain, and shooting leg pain because of a pinched nerve or nerves in the spinal cord.
- Conservative treatment options such as pain medication, physical therapy, and pain management therapies, etc. have failed to alleviate the pain.
How Is It Performed?
A lumbar Hemilaminectomy procedure can be unilateral (removing part of one lamina), or it can be bilateral (removing part of both laminae of a vertebra). This can be performed on one vertebra at a time, or it can be multi-level Hemilaminectomy in which parts of laminae are removed from multiple vertebrae in the same spine surgery.
Commonly, you can expect the following steps in a lumbar Hemilaminectomy procedure:
- The patient is given general anesthesia.
- Small incisions are made to insert surgical instruments and remove parts of the lamina. Debris of herniated discs is also removed if required.
- Spinal fusion surgery is performed if spine stabilization is required.
- The incisions are closed with sutures.
The Patient’s recovery time depends on the severity of their condition and the nature of the spine surgery, but commonly a patient fully recovers within 4-6 weeks of surgery.
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What Is the Difference Between a Hemilaminectomy and a Laminectomy?
- Lamia is the bony protective covering at the back of your spinal canal.
- A Laminectomy removes the lamia totally.
- In a Hemilaminectomy, only a part of the lamia and some other debris (if any) is removed.
How Long Does It Take to Recover From Hemilaminectomy?
- After your Hemilaminectomy, when you return home, you should be able to do most things.
- You will not be able to drive for a period of three to six weeks post-op.
- Avoid prolonged sitting, heavy lifting, or twisting.
- You may be able to return to work in some cases between a period of four to six weeks.