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How do you recover from a lumbar laminectomy?

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Recovering from a lumbar laminectomy usually involves staying at the hospital for at least one day and performing simple exercises, such as walking, Johns Hopkins Medicine states. The patient may use recommended medications to manage pain symptoms at home and avoid activities that require stressful lifting or bending, including driving.

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In the immediate aftermath of surgery, the physician may look for signs of complications and make observations while asking the patient to complete simple physical motions, Mayo Clinic notes. Depending on each individual's physical condition, doctors may recommend restricting movement for several weeks or months. The patient can usually resume working within a few weeks if he has a low-impact job that does not require frequent lifting, stooping, sitting or foot travel.

At-home care involves keeping the surgical area clean and free of infection until the stitches are removed, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. While the patient can treat pain with over-the-counter medications, the doctor may provide a specific list of drugs to avoid, such as aspirin, to prevent bleeding.

A lumbar laminectomy widens the spinal canal and relieves harmful compression of the spinal cord or nerves, according to Mayo Clinic. The surgery involves creating more space in the spinal canal by removing the outer covering of the affected vertebra, known as the lamina. If the patient has overlapping vertebrae or another spinal issue, the doctor may also complete a spinal fusion at the same time, leading to a longer recovery period.

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