Laminectomies, for the purpose of relieving pressure on spinal nerves, have a good short-term success rate, explaining why the procedure is considered one of the most common spinal surgeries performed. Results tend to be mixed, however, when looking at long-term success rates.
Success Rate Linked to the Reason for the Operation
Individual success rates for laminectomies depends on why your doctor is recommending the procedure, which involves the replacement of a vertebral bone called the lamina to make more room for spinal nerves, in the first place. There are two basic ways to perform a laminectomy:
If spinal stenosis, the most common reason for a laminectomy, originates from problems in the nerves, then there is usually no need for a fusion, decreasing risk factors and increasing the odds of long-term success.
When the spinal column itself is unstable, a spine fusion is required, often meaning a longer recovery period and reduced odds of long-term symptom relief.
What Patients Can Do
Patients generally recover normal function (meaning a previous level of functioning) in about a year following a laminectomy. The odds of a successful outcome can be increased by:
- Making an effort to improve posture
- Practicing safe lifting techniques
- Quickly reporting any new back pain
- Refraining from strenuous activities likely to slow healing
- Modifying your diet (to naturally increase bone and muscle strength)
- Performing doctor-approved exercises (to improve the strength of supporting structures)
A study focusing on outcomes associated with laminectomies suggests that long-term outcomes vary significantly. Researchers reported that nearly 25 percent of patients who had the surgery required another operation 7-10 years after their first surgery while 33 percent reported severe back pain.
Fortunately, for those in need of surgery, there are many novel non-fusion surgery options available that can help to provide long-term comfort and reduce the need for a second surgery. For more information about these options, reach out to Dr. Bae of The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration at www.laspine.com or call 310-828-7757 to schedule an in-person consultation.