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Laminectomy

What you should know

A laminectomy is surgery to take out the bony arches (lamina) of one or more of the vertebrae in your spine. This surgery can help to relieve pressure on your spinal cord or nerves.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Risks

  • Even after surgery, you may continue to have symptoms or your symptoms may return. Nerves in the area where the disc is removed could be injured. You may have numbness, pain, or paralysis. You may have problems controlling your bowel or bladder. The dura (tough tissue covering the spinal cord) may be torn during surgery, causing a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak. CSF surrounds and cushions your brain and spinal cord.

  • You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. If your vertebrae were not fused during surgery, your spine may become unstable (weak). You may need another surgery to correct any problems caused by this surgery. You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. This may become life-threatening.

Getting Ready

The week before your surgery:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.

  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.

  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.

  • You may need blood tests before your surgery. Talk to your healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.

The night before your surgery:

  • You may be given medicine to help you sleep.

  • Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Caregivers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.

  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.

  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.

Treatment

What will happen:

  • You will lie face down. Your surgeon will make an incision in the middle of your back or neck over the area where the lamina will be removed. He will move the skin and muscles of your back to get to your spine. Part or all of your lamina will be removed. If needed, your surgeon will remove any other tissue that is putting pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. This may include a herniated disk or tumor.

  • Your surgeon may fuse (connect) your vertebrae together with bone grafts, artificial materials, or metal plates, rods and screws. This will prevent movement between the vertebrae. Your surgeon will move the muscles back into place. The incision will be closed with stitches or staples, and a bandage will be placed over the area.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be taken to your hospital room.

Contact a caregiver if

  • You cannot make it to your surgery.

  • You have a fever.

  • You get a cold or the flu.

  • You cannot control when you have a bowel movement or urinate.

  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • Your symptoms get worse.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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