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What to Expect After Your Laminectomy

What to Expect After Your Laminectomy

Many forms of back surgery are performed to help relieve the pain and other symptoms from back or neck problems. A laminectomy is one of these procedures that’s utilized when nerves are compressed.

When you’re at the point of needing a laminectomy, you should know about the procedure and what recovery will look like to promote a positive result after surgery.

Dr. Jordi Kellogg at Kellogg Brain and Spine offers a laminectomy and other spinal procedures when your pain is taking over your life. Dr. Kellogg has years of experience treating neck and back pain through both surgical and nonsurgical methods.

Laminectomy: What is it?

Performed under general anesthesia in an operating room, a laminectomy is a type of spinal procedure in which Dr. Kellogg removes the lamina, a small section of bone, from your spine. 

Dr. Kellogg performs this procedure on your back or neck, depending where your symptoms originate. The incision is made on your back, so you’ll be lying on your stomach for the surgery.

You need a laminectomy when you have back pain, numbness and tingling, or trouble walking because of compression of nerves on your spinal cord. If conservative treatments haven’t helped your symptoms, Dr. Kellogg recommends a laminectomy to help.

The lamina are bony protrusions that are located at the back of the spinal column. These bones begin to change around age 30, which may lead to nerve compression and uncomfortable symptoms.

When Dr. Kellogg performs a laminectomy, he’s essentially removing a piece of the lamina that is pressing on your spinal cord or nerve root. This instantly relieves pressure, often decreasing your symptoms and improving your overall quality of life.

What to expect after surgery

Your procedure may take several hours, and you’ll be taken to the recovery room where you’ll wake up from the anesthesia. Depending on your health and other factors, you may be able to go home after your procedure.

However, sometimes Dr. Kellogg recommends you stay in the hospital for a night or two. This could happen if you had other procedures on your back or if you had some complications during surgery.

Before you go home, the hospital staff review your discharge instructions with you and your ride. This includes your prescribed pain medications and how to take them. 

The instructions are detailed and tell you what you can and can’t do in the first few days following your procedure. It’s important that you stick to these instructions to ensure a safe and effective recovery.

You’ll also meet a physical therapist before you go home. They go over your therapy plan and may give you some exercises and stretches to do at home once the initial healing period comes to an end.

Recovery after a laminectomy

Everyone heals differently after a spine procedure. It’s difficult to say exactly how long your recovery will be after a laminectomy.

Your pain may be severe in the first few days after your surgery. This is normal, as your body begins to heal the tissue damage and incisions near the site. Use your medications as prescribed to keep your pain level tolerable.

If Dr. Kellogg simply performed a laminectomy for decompression of a nerve, you may be able to return to a desk job and light activities within a few weeks of surgery, especially if you’re feeling okay and following your recovery plan.

For more invasive procedures, such as a spinal fusion with a laminectomy, it will take months to heal and be back to normal activities. This extra time is needed to ensure success of the surgery and to allow your body to heal.

No matter what form of laminectomy you had, Dr. Kellogg often advises you to avoid lifting anything heavy, bending, or twisting for a few months after your procedure. This includes any activities that require these types of movements.

You’ll continue physical therapy for several months after a laminectomy. This helps you improve your mobility after surgery and helps you strengthen the muscles in your back. This is a vital part of your recovery.

If you have any bumps in the road during your recovery, Dr. Kellogg and the team at Kellogg Brain and Spine are here to assist.

If you’re in need of a laminectomy, call one of our offices in Oregon today, or request an appointment with Dr. Kellogg on our website. 

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