Laminectomy and microdiscectomy are types of spinal surgeries performed to help relieve pain, numbness, and discomfort from pressure on nerves in the spine caused by injury, herniated disks, narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis), or tumors.
A laminectomy involves the removal of all or part of the vertebral bone (lamina). A microdiscectomy involves the removal of a portion of the intervertebral disc, usually the herniated or protruding portion compressing the traversing spinal nerve root.
- Both laminectomy and microdiscectomy procedures take about one hour and recovery time varies depending on the patient and the procedure.
- Most patients stay in the hospital for up to three days following their procedure and the surgical site will be sore for several days. Patients are encouraged to walk as soon as possible to help speed recovery, prevent scar tissue, and return mobility to the spine.
- Many patients will be able to do low-impact activities such as bicycling or swimming within a couple of weeks following either procedure, but it will take more time before patients are able to do heavy lifting or other strenuous activities.
- Recovery from laminectomy can take up to 12 weeks to heal. Sometimes, it can take up to a year for a full recovery.
- Recovery after a microdiscectomy takes less time, about six to eight weeks.
What Are Risks and Complications of Laminectomy and Microdiscectomy?
Risks and complications of laminectomy and microdiscectomy include:
- Blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism)
- Spinal cord or nerve root injury
- Risks from use of general anesthesia
- Nerve or blood vessel injury in the area of surgery which can cause:
- Lack of pain relief or worsening pain (rare)
- Tear of the protective sheath around the spinal nerves (dura), which can spinal fluid leaking
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Erectile dysfunction (impotence)
- Nerve pain
- Failure of the surgery, which may require further surgery or another type of surgery such as (spinal fusion) or disc replacement
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