Microsurgical decompression (microlaminectomy)

Microsurgical decompression (also known as a microlaminectomy) is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat cases of spinal stenosis. The procedure relieves pressure and pain on spinal nerves caused by bone spurs. In addition to being useful for individuals suffering from spinal stenosis, a microlaminectomy is also used to treat patients with osteoarthritis, a degenerative arthritic condition. The surgery is appropriate when no more than three spinal levels are affected, otherwise a traditional laminectomy would be required. A microlaminectomy minimizes length of surgery and recovery time, allowing a patient to return home on the same day as the microscopic surgery.

Who is a Candidate for a Spinal Stenosis Treatment?

Microlaminectomy is recommended in cases where conservative methods have failed and a spinal disorder causes the following:

  • Difficulty performing normal daily activities
  • Conservative methods do not relieve pain
  • Loose bladder or bowel control
  • Unsteady or clumsy walk

Treatment options depend upon several factors, such as type of spinal disorder and a patient’s medical history.

What Happens During a Microlaminectomy?

A microlaminectomy treats compression pain from spinal stenosis or arthritis when overgrown vertebral bone (lamina) and soft tissue have narrowed the spinal canal and press on surrounding nerves. Removing the lamina and trimming the bony growths widen the spinal canal, providing a clear passageway for the nerves.

During a microlaminectomy procedure, an endoscope is inserted into a small incision, allowing for an enlarged view of the affected area. Minimally invasive instruments are then used to trim the lamina and bony growths, relieving pressure on the surrounding nerves. At completion, the spinal canal is cleared and the small incision is sutured closed.

Additional information about microlaminectomies and mecrolaminotomies can be found at spineuniverse.com

How Does Spinal Stenosis Microdecompression Benefit a Patient?

A microlaminectomy offers patients quick recovery, minimal scarring, and less post-operative pain than traditional spine surgeries. Additionally, this method eliminates any muscle scarring and tissue damage, making recovery easier for the patient and reducing time needed in physical therapy.

Following spine surgery, patients should feel improved muscle control and reduced numbness in the legs and feet. A microlaminectomy carries the same risks as any other surgery, including issues with anesthesia, infection, nerve damage, and blood clots. Individuals with diabetes or circulatory issues might not qualify for the procedure.

Spinal stenosis is a common back disorder which can be effectively treated by a microlaminectomy. It is one of the surgeries frequently performed at Los Angeles Spine Group, a facility which specializes in minimally invasive techniques and has helped many patients regain mobility and eliminate back pain. If you’re suffering from a painful back, please contact our expert spine surgeons at 310.574.0400.

Next, learn about minimally invasive spine surgery.


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The information available on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. This information is not intended to replace a medical consultation where a physician's judgment may advise you about specific disorders, conditions and or treatment options. We hope the information will be useful for you to become more educated about your health care decisions.