Laminectomy and laminotomy are surgeries done to relieve pressure
on the spinal cord and/or spinal nerve roots by removing all or part of the
lamina. The lamina, the thin part of the bones that make up the spine
(vertebrae), protects the spinal cord.
Age-related changes in the spine may narrow the opening through
which the spinal cord runs (spinal canal), and the spinal cord and/or nerve
roots may become squeezed. Laminotomy removes part of the lamina. Laminectomy
removes all of the lamina on selected vertebrae. It also may remove thickened
ligament tissue. The choice of procedure depends on where the spinal problem is and how bad it is. Less pressure on the nerve roots often can relieve
leg or arm pain and can allow you to resume normal daily activities.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics