MedicineNet’s definition of “lamina” is: “Plates or layers. For example, the lamina arcus vertebrae are plates of bone within each vertebral body.” The meaning of “Ectomy” is: “The surgical removal of something.” And “minimally invasive” is defined as: “requiring only a small incision or the insertion of an instrument into a body cavity; involving minimal damage of body tissue.”
Put them together and you have minimally invasive laminectomy, “one of the most common back surgeries,” said WebMD. Laminectomies are performed on patients suffering from spinal stenosis, herniated discs, and other conditions that put pressure on the spinal cord or the nerves surrounding the spine. The compression of these nerves can cause intense pain, but, until recently, surgery to relieve the pain was an undertaking many patients dreaded.
That’s because the only option for a laminectomy was an open procedure. During this type of laminectomy, “The surgeon will make an incision in the skin of your back over the affected area. The muscles and soft tissues around the spine will be pulled to the side, exposing the spine,” said WebMD.
While an open laminectomy is still a relatively easy procedure, complications can result from the retraction of the muscles and soft tissue, potentially causing a longer hospital stay, and/or a longer and more involved recovery.
“One of the major drawbacks of open surgery is that the pulling or ‘retraction’ of the muscle can damage both the muscle and the surrounding soft tissue,” said the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). “Although the goal of muscle retraction is to help the surgeon see the problem area, it typically affects more anatomy than the surgeon requires. As a result, there is greater potential for muscle injury, and patients may have pain after surgery that is different from the back pain felt before surgery. This can lead to a lengthier recovery period. The larger incision and damage to soft tissues may also increase both blood loss and the risk for infection.”
In contrast, minimally invasive surgery involves preserving the muscles, tendons, and soft tissue, which greatly cuts down on post-operative pain, recovery time, and the potential for injury during surgery.
Additional advantages of a minimally invasive laminectomy include:
- A smaller incision—Typically only one-half-inch long as compared to the five- or six-inch incision of an open laminectomy. The smaller incision is desirable for aesthetic reasons, but, more importantly, lowers the risk of infection and speeds healing.
- A shorter surgery—As performed by leading surgeons like Mark Valente, Board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon and Founder and Medical Director of DISC Spine Institute, minimally invasive laminectomy is an outpatient procedure that takes only about 45 minutes. Patients are typically up and walking soon after and returning home within an hour. Less operative time means also means less anesthesia and less blood loss, both of which contribute to a faster recovery and the potential for fewer complications.
Advances in technology and specialization by leading spinal surgeons have made minimally invasive surgical procedures like laminectomy a popular and ever-growing option for those seeking to put an end to back pain.
When it’s time to put an end to your pain, visit DISC Spine Institute, experts in minimally invasive treatments, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate chronic back pain today. Minimally invasive surgical techniques mean treating chronic back pain is easier than ever, with outpatient treatments, small incisions, and a quicker recovery time instead of a long hospital stay.