A laminectomy is the surgical procedure whereby the part of the vertebra that covers the spinal canal is removed. The goal of the surgery is simply to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves, which in turn alleviates pain caused by the pinched nerves.

Also called decompression surgery, a laminectomy may also be done alongside other surgical procedures such as a diskectomy, foraminotomy, and spinal fusion. However, a successful laminectomy does not guarantee a complete recovery from leg or low back pain. Pain can be caused by a variety of sources, some of which are not related to the pressure on the nerves in the spinal canal. As with all surgeries, it is best to consider all non-surgical forms of treatment for leg/ lower back pain before settling on a surgical course of action.

Dr. Paul Saiz, MD
NASS Coding Committee member
Las Cruces Orthopaedic Associates
Las Cruces, NM