What Are Some of the Side Effects of a Lumbar Laminectomy?


Quick Answer

Nerve root damage, spinal fluid leakage and infections characterize some of the side effects of a lumbar laminectomy, according to Spine-health. A lumbar laminectomy is a surgical procedure intended to treat pain due to lumbar stenosis. However, in some cases, complications can ensue after surgery due to a number of factors.

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Nerve root damage follows trauma to the spinal nerve root during surgery, according to the National Spine & Pain Centers. Trauma to this nerve doesn't completely recover, leading to persistent nerve pain. Nerve root damage also results in the development of scar tissue around the nerve, and this scar tissue also leads to chronic pain. The likely treatment plan for nerve root damage includes an epidural nerve block, facet joint injections and spinal cord stimulation.

Cerebrospinal fluid leakage occurs due to a dural tear that the surgeon overlooks during surgery, as Resurgens Spine Center explains. If the surgeon doesn't repair the tear, it might not heal. Instead, it continues to leak spinal fluid during the postoperative period, and this leakage can lead to a spinal headache or infection of the spinal fluid. The leakage can close off by itself with time, but a second surgery is necessary if the leakage persists.

Infection after a laminectomy procedure can occur in the incision or spread deeper, affecting the spinal cord and related areas, as Resurgens Spine Center warns. A superficial infection requires antibiotic treatment, but a deeper infection requires an additional surgery to drain the infection.

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