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If you have a lower back problem, like lumbar spinal stenosis, lumbar laminectomy surgery could help treat it.
Lumbar spinal stenosis is where the spinal canal narrows in your lower back. The spinal canal tends to narrow as we get older caused by bony overgrowth from wear and tear in the facet joints, thickening of surrounding ligaments and bulging of the discs. A narrowed spinal canal means that there is not enough space for the nerves and blood vessels. You may have difficulty walking and leg pain, often with a tingling sensation.
The aim is to prevent your symptoms getting worse. You may get less pain and be able to walk further. Some people have a major improvement.
If your symptoms are mild, you may not need any treatment. If your symptoms are severe or are getting worse, surgery is usually the only option.
Various anaesthetic techniques are possible. The operation usually takes 1 to 2 hours. Your surgeon will make a vertical cut on the centre of your lower back. They will part the muscles to get to your spine. Your surgeon will remove enough bone and ligament tissue to open up the narrowed part of the canal, giving the nerves and blood vessels more room.
Like all surgical procedures, there are some levels of risks to consider. Some of these can be serious and can even cause death. However, you can speak to your doctor about the following general and specific complications that may worry you.
You should be able to go home after 1 to 2 days. Do not lift anything heavy or twist your body. Make sure you keep a good posture when sitting and walking. With regular exercise, it should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice. Spinal stenosis can sometimes come back at the same place or at a different place in your spine.
Lumbar spinal stenosis is where the spinal canal narrows in your lower back. This may cause pain or weakness in your legs. The aim of surgery is to prevent your symptoms getting worse. To find out more, call us on 0808 101 0337.
Author: Mr Richard Ashpole FRCS (Neuro. Surg.)
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