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Laminectomy for Spinal Stenosis

A laminectomy relieves nerve pressure and pain caused by spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal that puts pressure on the nerves and causes pain throughout the spine and extremities. It can develop as a result of bone spurs or just from aging. In this procedure, a small section of bone that covers the back of the spinal cord, called the lamina, is removed to relieve the compression.

A laminectomy is performed through the back of the spine under general anesthesia. The removal of the lamina and any bone spurs relieves the pressure on the spinal cord. The remaining spine bones can be connected by titanium metal rods with screws attached to bones on each side. The procedure can also be done without fusion.

Microdiscectomy

Microdiscectomy, also known as Microdecompression Spine Surgery, is a minimally invasive procedure designed to reduce pain caused by neural impingement in the spine. This surgery is distinctive because it causes no change in the mechanical structure of the spine whatsoever. This leads to extremely fast recovery times and very reliable results as there is no adjustment required by the body. Although surgery should be avoided whenever possible, this particular procedure is an ideal option for those who need to cure their pain quickly and efficiently.

Purpose for Microdiscectomy
The nerves of the spine are very sensitive tissues that relay messages between different parts of the body. However, this uninterrupted cord of communication is subject to the wear and tear of daily life including hazards such as bad posture, sedentary life, and acute (car accident) and chronic (continual bumping and bruising) trauma.

At some point in time, the tissue can have a natural inflammatory response to encourage extra blood flow so that it may repair itself. However, this swelling also takes up physical space near the aggravated tissue which, in the small and tightly packed spinal column, is in high demand already. Therefore, the tissues "squeeze" together to fit in between the bones and essentially "pinch" the nerve. This activates the nerve, causing pain messages to be sent and discomfort to be felt by the individual. More importantly, the nerve is further aggravated, leading to a potentially unending cycle of inflammation. As more damage occurs, more blood is required and more swelling commences which only causes further damage etc.

Microdiscectomy Procedure
Microdiscectomy seeks to break this cycle and accomplish the "decompression" of the pinched nerve so that it can finally repair itself and relax its activation. This is done by actually removing parts of the soft tissue from the spine to make room for the swollen tissue. The doctor starts by moving the back muscles and soft tissue slightly so he can reach the problematic vertebrae; there is very little to no manipulation of the bones (facet joint or lamina).

Portions of the nucleus pulposus and adjacent disc material are the removed to make more space in the spinal column and allow the spine to recover with no pressure. The greatest benefit of the minimally invasive comes from the reduced need to visualize the spine. Less tissue is moved out of place and only the target tissue is fully removed. This differs drastically from a conventional laminectomy, which removes a great deal of spinal muscle and bone.

Lumbar Microdiscectomy

A lumbar microdiscectomy is performed to relieve pressure on nerve roots caused by a severe herniated disc in the lumbar spine. The lumbar spine is the lower area consisting of the bottom five vertebrae. A herniated disc may cause lower back pain and pain or numbness in the legs and feet. Surgery may be needed if symptoms include severe leg pain, weakness or numbness in the extremities and impaired bowel or bladder function.

A lumbar microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive procedure. A microscope is inserted through a tiny incision in the lower back to view the pinched nerve. Surgical instruments are then inserted through other tiny incisions to remove only the portion of the disc that is applying pressure on it, as well as any disc fragments that may have broken off.

Spine Surgery

Spine surgery can relieve pain and correct injury to the nerves in the back when non-invasive methods are ineffective or inappropriate. Surgery may be performed to remove discs; to treat diseases and disorders such as Arnold Chiari-Malformation, syringomyelia and spinal stenosis; and to correct spinal fractures, injuries, cysts, tumors, herniated cords and other painful or harmful conditions.

Discectomy – Performed to correct a herniated disc, the most common cause of lower back pain. The soft material in the disc is removed to restore proper shape and relieve pressure on the nerve.

Laminectomy and Laminotomy – Removal of the lamina (small bony plate on each vertebra) to relieve pressure on the nerve that causes back pain in patients suffering from stenosis.

Spinal Fusion - Bone is grafted onto the spine that grows and heals to provide strength and stabilization following injury or disease.

Recent advances in medical technology have made possible minimally invasive spinal surgery, in which the entire procedure is performed through small incisions with the aid of an endoscope (a thin instrument with a tiny camera on the tip). Minimally invasive surgery offers a number of benefits over traditional surgery, including less post-operative discomfort, smaller scars and a shorter recovery time. This type of surgery is not appropriate for all conditions, but may be performed to treat scoliosis and herniated discs and to aid in spinal fusion.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Traditional spinal surgeries usually require large incisions and stripping away the muscles of the spinal column just to get to a herniated disc. Now, new technology allows these complex procedures to be performed with the help of a microscope to magnify and illuminate the damaged area. Instead of stripping away the muscle, your surgeon can insert a microscope through a much smaller incision and create a tunnel to the disc. This is done by splitting the muscle to pass the instrument through.

Minimally invasive procedures result in less visible scars and shorter recovery times. A discectomy, or removal of the disc, can often be performed this way. Your doctor will decide if a minimally invasive procedure is right for you.

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