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Old 01-19-2012, 10:28 AM   #1
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Lumbar Laminectomy

My mother (70 years old) is going to have a Lumbar Laminectomy soon. Does anyone know anything about it? I searched this board and it came back with no results. I am wondering about the recovery time, the chances of it actually helping her, and the risks associated with it. Anyone had this procedure done? Thank you.

 
Old 01-19-2012, 11:52 AM   #2
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Re: Lumbar Laminectomy

Could you provide a couple more details about your mother's situation? Is this a lumbar issue, and if so, at what level will surgery be done? Given her age and the fact that you only mention laminectomy, I am guess that she has stenosis, which is not unusual for someone her age.

A laminectomy is often done at the same time as a fusion. It is less often performed as a stand alone surgery...but it is an effective way to create more room for the spinal nerves, particularly when the patient's spine is affected by arthritis.

A laminectomy is a procedure that removes the very back of the vertebrae, the lamina, to increase the space within the spinal canal. This makes more room for the nerves, and therefore takes away the nerve compression which is what causes pain.

You can read about it and see an animated video on laminectomy at Healthboard's sister site:

http://www.*****.com/back-pain/decompressive-laminectomy-for-spinal-stenosis

http://www.*****.com/a-to-z-guides/video/laminectomy

It is not a particularly complicated surgery, but regardless, it is important to research the surgeon. You want a fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon who devotes the practice to issues of the back and neck.

You will want to find out if the surgeon is planning surgery on more than one level, and be sure to ask, if that is the case, is he also planning on doing a fusion? It would be very important to know that because recovery from fusion is much more difficult than from a laminectomy alone.

If she is just having a laminectomy, she will need to avoid any bending or twisting at the waist, and will have a weight restriction that she is allowed to lift for a period of about six weeks. If she had fusion, recovery would be much harder and longer. Often when a laminectomy is performed on several levels, by removing that much bone, it creates an instability. This potential problem is resolved by performing a fusion at the same time. It is just something to be aware of as you would want to know ahead of time.

If she has stenosis, this is one procedure that usually helps the patient a lot.

Last edited by teteri66; 01-19-2012 at 11:54 AM.

 
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:31 AM   #3
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Re: Lumbar Laminectomy

Just had a laminectomy on 1/6/2012, I'm 51. Surgery followed 3 months of conservate treatment with exercise, acumpunture. Symptoms became increasingly worse (pain in right buttocks extending down back of leg, bad enough to cripple me repeatedly throughout a day, increasing weakness). Numbness in calf and foot then set in. After X-rays and MRI, back specialist advised epidural was not an option and sent me for surgical consult.

Surgeon is conservative and advised he would not to a fusion at this time, just removing the vertabrae spurs, scraping out the central canal, and removing the bulging parts of the badly herniated disc. My issues are hereditary, not due to an injury.

What to expect? I guess we are all different.... My surgery was at 6:00 a.m., done by 9:00 a.m. By 2:00 p.m. they hauled my butt out of bed and had me start walking (well, the first trip was only to stand up and then sit down), then we walked every 3-4 hours. Had issues with pain medication making me nauseous, and spent some extremely uncomfortable time. I was in the hospital for two nights, home on Sunday afternoon.

The first 3-4 days were pretty much a pain blur for me - although the original pain (sciatica in right leg) has been gone completely since surgery. The surgical pain has been pretty bad. I took Percoset every 4 hours for the first few days at home, gradually moving off it completely by Day 7 (I hate the way drugs make me feel). Since then, I have occasionally taken a half a Percoset if it gets really bad). I used a walker for the first few days, but managed without any other special equipment. If your mom does not have good leg strength, she may find a raised toilet seat helpful!

I gradually started walking more, first around the house, then around my property. At this point (2 weeks post-op), I walk a total of 1/2 - 3/4 of a mile daily (not at the same time, usually in 2-3 trips). No issue with stairs. I am slow, but steady. No leg pain, although the numbness is still there (getting better, I think). I am very, very frustrated with the mobility restrictions (no lifting, bending, twisting), but the pain of bending pretty much keeps me in line!

Best of luck for your mom!

 
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Old 02-24-2012, 08:18 AM   #4
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Re: Lumbar Laminectomy

Thank you both so much for replying. I am so very sorry to have taken so long to respond but both posts were very helpful. Unfortunately my father passed away suddenly and my mom postponed her surgery. I will keep you updated as to when she decides to have it done. I am assuming sooner rather than later because she is in so much pain. Thank you again for your help.

 
Old 02-24-2012, 09:56 AM   #5
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Re: Lumbar Laminectomy

I am sorry for your loss. Please keep in touch and let us know how your mother does with the surgery.

 
Old 06-01-2012, 11:02 PM   #6
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Re: Lumbar Laminectomy

Thank you so much for writing about your experience after your laminectomy. I will see my surgeon later this month to schedule my surgery for the L5. I tried epidurals, physical therapy and the pain is not going away and in fact, it's getting harder and harder to walk very far. I was in a car accident and afterwards started having pain in my buttock area, MRI was done and showed that the L5 needs to be removed. So I'm very hopeful that I also will have a good recovery. Thank you for the information on how you did at home, the pain and the restrictions following surgery. I do appreciate this information and please continue to write on how you are doing.

 
Old 06-02-2012, 03:55 AM   #7
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Re: Lumbar Laminectomy

Good luck with your surgery!! 5 months after my surgery, I think I am as healed as I will get. It's not the same as before surgery, but I don't experience any pain, and very little numbness. I can feel it, but it is not troublesome. I am diligent about doing daily strengthening exercises to try and help prevent additional surgeries (I have two other discs that have degenerated and are prone to herniation). My surgeon believes that with care and exercise I may be able to avoid additional damage! And while my experience seems to have been much better than many, I do NOT want to go through another surgery. No more throwing hay bales for me.

 
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Old 06-05-2012, 09:13 PM   #8
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Re: Lumbar Laminectomy

Hello. Thanks for the update on your surgery. I am hoping to return to work six weeks after the surgery, can you tell me, if you recall, how you were doing six weeks out. I work at a hospital, on my feet for hours but no lifting at all.
Just a lot of walking, standing, sitting and standing.
Right now my back pain is so bad that I'm going to need to take off work until the surgery and recovery. Just very painful at the end of a shift after all that walking, now if I would use a shopping cart and lean forward, no problem!
That seems to be the only time it does not hurt.
Yes, I do not think tossing hay would be a good thing.
Are you still in physical therapy or continuing the exercises at home? Thanks.

 
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