Treatment of Back Pain

Lumbar Laminectomy for Lower Back Pain

Laminectomy is an operation performed in order to remove portions of the vertebral bone called lamina. The objective of this removal is to relieve pressure off the lamina. A degeneration in this part of the spinal tract results in spinal stenosis, herniated disc and other related conditions.

The Human Spine

The human spine is a long chain bones called vertebrates. These bones are placed one on top of another, separated by soft pads called intervertebral discs, resulting in a chain like formation which then supports the rest of our body parts. This chain is called the spinal column and is divided into 4 regions (listed in ascending order)-

* Cervical spine (supports neck)
* Thoracic spine (supports the chest area)
* Lumbar spine (supports low back)
* Sacrum (supports pelvis area)

Through this spinal column runs a tube called the spinal canal. It houses the spinal chord and a bundle of nerves called cauda equine. The whole canal is sensitive to pressure and is, hence, protected by a column of bones.

Lower Back Pain and Lumbar Spine

The lumbar spine supports the lower back. Any problem in the lumbar spine then results in lower back of varying intensity. The underlying cause of lower back pain is usually a herniated disc. However, other reasons may also include the following:

* Tumours
* A disc fragment (this will often cause more severe symptoms)
* Protruding/degenerating discs
* An osteophyte or bone spur (a rough protrusion of bone)
* Facet arthritis and/or cysts

The Surgery

The surgery is usually performed under local anaesthesia. The patient lies face-down on the operating table. This then opens the lumbar spine for inspection and operation. Small incisions are made and the back muscles are spread out using a retractor. The spinal canal is eventually reached which then reveals which nerve is under pressure. Surgeons are also able to identify the real cause of increased pressure.

Once the cause of increased pressure is identified, it is removed and the spinal canal is widened. Usually, the lamina of the affected vertebrate is either trimmed or removed in order to create more space for nerve tendons. In some cases, the vertebrate may be even fused using specially crafted miniature joints. The extra space created by this surgery thus helps relieve pressure on the spinal chord.

Time Taken For Recovery

The time taken by patients to fully recover from this lumbar Laminectomy is usually more than what it is required in other surgeries. The recover process is slow and on an average patients may require 1 (one) to 1.5 (one and a half) years to fully recover from the surgery. Normal functioning in most cases is fully restored only after about a year.