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Laminectomy (whether unilateral or bilateral) refers to the surgical removal of the lamina of a vertebral body. By removing the lamina, we are able to decompress the spinal canal, and thus reduce the pressure on the spinal cord.

Spinal stenosis may be caused by:

  1. arthritis of the spine (in older patients)
  2. intervertebral disc degeneration
  3. congenital defects (e.g. abnormal growth of the spine, achondroplasia)
  4. Paget disease of the bone
  5. trauma to the spine
  6. space-occupying lesion within or surrounding the spine

The most commonly affected region is the lumbar spine.

A lumbar laminectomy is performed for patients with symptomatic, painful spinal stenosis, often occurring at multiple (> 3 vertebrae) levels of the spine.

The surgical procedure includes:

  1. removal of the spinous processes
  2. removal of the lamina and identify origin of ligamentum flavum
  3. resection of the ligamentum flavum
  4. fusing the joint prevents the spinal stenosis from recurring and can help eliminate pain from an unstable segment

Article information

rID: 52822
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • lumbar decompression

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Cases and figures

  • case 1: lumbar
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  • case 2: lumbar
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  • case 3: thoracic
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  • Case 4: L5/S1 hemilaminectomy
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