Who Needs It?

Laminectomy is performed for the condition known as lumbar canal stenosis when the spine is too narrow for the nerves contained within. Patients typically complain of impaired walking distance and leg pain on exertion. The spinal narrowing is caused by arthritic changes in the joints in the spine which then enlarge. This encroaches on
the space available for the nerve roots and leads to the symptoms.

The Operation

This can be performed under general or epidural anesthetic. The bone at the back of the spine is removed to enlarge the space available for the nerves. At the same time, if necessary, the foramina, the holes through which the nerves leave the spine, can be enlarged.


This is typically uneventful, with most patients leaving the hospital within a few days. There are no specific restrictions after surgery, but lifting and bending should be avoided for the first few weeks.