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Please describe your lumbar laminectomy experience.

Back pain can grow progressively worse and more disabling, depending on the cause. At some point, your doctor may suggest surgery as one of the alternatives. The lumbar laminectomy may be one option. Despite medical breakthroughs, back pain has been a common problem through the centuries, often with no simple solutions.Facts about back painBack pain results in more lost work productivity than any other medical condition. It is the second leading cause of missed workdays (behind the common cold).Back pain is more common in men than women.Back pain is more common among whites than among other racial groups.Most back pain occurs among people 45-64 years of age.A common cause of acute back pain is muscle strain. A common cause of chronic back pain is degeneration of the lumbar spine and lumbar disk disease.Discussion of back pain has been found on Egyptian papyrus dating 3,500 years ago. Through the centuries, thousands of physicians have evaluated it and recommended treatments for it.Back pain that can lead to surgeryThe most common site of back pain is in the lower back.A significant percentage of people who have back pain have a herniated disk with nerve pain transmitted down a lower extremity. This pain is called sciatica, because the problem once was believed to stem from pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sciatica causes pain to radiate through your buttocks into one or both legs.A disk acts as a shock absorber for your spine. It is made up of a tough outer ring of cartilage with an inner sac filled with a jellylike substance. When a disk herniates, the jellylike nucleus pushes through the harder outer ring (annulus), putting pressure on the adjacent nerve root.A herniated disk can cause varying degrees of pain and complications. The most serious complication is cauda equina syndrome, compression at the point where the roots of all the lumbar spinal nerves are located.People may lose all nerve function below the area of compression, including loss of bowel and bladder control.This condition is a true surgical emergency requiring immediate decompression of the entrapped nerves if you are to preserve bowel and bladder function. The longer the delay, the less recovery can be expected.Surgery for back painAs with other back pain, doctors first attempt conservative medical treatment for a herniated disc. If conservative treatment fails, surgery often produces gratifying relief.Surgery may be considered for anyone with frequently recurring sciatica, usually if the pain interferes with your ability to work or do daily activities.Doctors decide to perform surgery, however, only after they have tried a variety of treatments. Doctors usually reserve surgery for chronic sciatica. In general, most medical experts do not recommend considering surgery in acute sciatica. The decision to have surgery should be a joint decision you make with your doctor.Another indication for surgery is a progressive loss of nerve function. For example, you may lose a certain reflex and later begin to lose strength gradually.Far more commonly, people go to a doctor with an acute lack of nerve function.Usually these function losses are minor and may come and go. They respond well to conservative medical treatment.If the deficit is severe -- you cannot bend a knee or move a foot -- surgery is an option.Many people may not regain full nerve function after surgery, however.Men are twice as likely to need surgery as women.The average age for surgery is 40-45 years.More than 95% of disk operations are performed on the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae.Types of surgery: Doctors perform three common surgeries on the back to relieve nerve root compression. These procedures are sometimes referred to as decompressive operations. They often are done in combination with each other.Laminotomy -- Removal of part of the bony lamina above and below a nerve that is getting "pinched."Laminectomy -- Removal of most of the bony arch, or lamina, of a vertebra (Laminectomy is most often done when back pain fails to improve with more conservative medical treatment.)Discectomy -- Removal, or partial removal, of a spinal disk
37 Responses
Avatar universal
I suffered for years from back pain. I am glad to read the stories. My doctor says I need lumbar laminectomy. I am inconstant pain. Hopefully it will help. I cannot stand or walk. I would do anything for relief.
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I had surgery on L5, L4, 10 weeks ago in February 2018 and all seemed to go well. But 4 weeks after my lumbar laminectomy surgery the incision area aches badly. I can't sit for more than 30 minutes or stand for more than 1 hour. I don't know if it is the muscle or the disc that's the issue. I was told 6 weeks but that is being modest, from other posts I see on this forum. I'm hoping it will get better from what I have read. The leg and back pain are gone, but it is a different kind of achy pain that's deep and dull in the lower back. I am scheduled to see pain management next week. Hope it is good news or I will be getting MRI soon.
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My husband had L4 and L5 fusion and now has numbness in groin and below knees. He can go to the bathroom on his own and can walk with a walker. It's been a week since his lumbar laminectomy and he is getting very nervous.
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I had a lumbar laminectomy on May 1st on L3-S1 to relieve degenerative disc and spinal stenosis. Surgery went fine. I took it easy for several weeks. At 6 weeks I got the go ahead to do physical therapy. I didn't put my whole heart into it, and now on July 15th, my back is hurting like before. I don't know what to do. I am very depressed. I did have leg pain which has subsided, but they still feel heavy. Not sorry I had the surgery, just wish I knew what to do next.
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I had a lumbar laminectomy and microdiscectomy at L4 L5 to relieve pressure on my sciatic nerve on the right side caused by a herniated disc. I'm a US Marine officer, 42 years old who was very active but had to choose between getting this surgery or medical retirement, my leg pain was so bad. Post-surgery the leg pain was gone entirely. Two weeks out I've had some minor pain recurrence but rarely, normal for this operation, and restless legs syndrome symptoms in arms. I'm much better than before surgery, so far it's worth it.
Avatar universal
I had a lumbar laminectomy operation on 5th July. It was meant to be a discectomy but my discs had become hard as stone so the surgeon only shaved some off. I have recovered from the surgery but am still in pain. I came off pain control and was awake for 41 hours. I see my surgeon on Tuesday but dreading telling him I'm still in pain.
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