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What is the purpose of spinal laminectomy surgery?

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Doctors perform a spinal laminectomy to relieve compression on the spinal column by removing part of the vertebral arch of the spine or bone spurs, according to Healthline. A surgeon may refer to a spinal laminectomy as a lumbar laminectomy, cervical laminectomy or decompressive laminectomy to clarify the exact type of surgery he intends to perform.

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People who need a spinal laminectomy may have difficulty walking or controlling their bladder or bowels, notes Healthline. They also may report back pain and weakness or numbness in the legs. Doctors only recommend back surgery for patients who do not respond to noninvasive treatments and have symptoms that interfere with their daily activities.

Sometimes the surgeon pairs a spinal laminectomy with a spinal fusion, implant or disk removal to fully correct the source of the patient's back problems, explains WebMD.

After surgery, most patients spend one to five days in the hospital, depending on the type of surgery they need, notes WebMD. For a minor decompressive laminectomy, a patient can expect to complete light duties after several weeks of recovery. A laminectomy paired with a spinal fusion may require two to four months of recovery. All patients should expect to limit lifting and bending for the first few months. To encourage a full, speedy recovery, patients should complete physical therapy and a light walking program as part of their rehabilitation.

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