Sydney Brain & Spine


This procedure relieves pressure on the nerve roots in the spine. It is most commonly performed to relieve the pain of stenosis. This is a narrowing of the spinal canal that is often caused by the formation of bony growths that can press against the nerve roots. The surgeon may treat one or more vertebrae.

Lumbar laminectomy, also known as lumbar decompression, is a common treatment for spinal stenosis. It is performed to relieve excess pressure on the spinal nerve(s)
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal, due to arthritic changes of facet joints and intervertebral discs. This causes enlargement of the joint that exerts pressure on the spinal nerves. This narrowing can put pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots, which can cause numbness, weakness or pain.
The term laminectomy originated from the Latin words ‘lamina’ refers to a thin plate and the word ‘ectomy’ means removal. By performing a laminectomy, more space for the nerves is created by removing the lamina (or roof) of one or more vertebrae. Thickened ligaments or bone spurs that may be contributing to the pressure placed on the nerves are also removed. Even when herniated discs are present, a laminectomy can provide room for the spinal cord and nerve roots to help reduce and prevent nerve irritation, thus reducing pain.


This procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic. The patient lies face down on the operating table and a small incision is made along the midline of the back. Soft tissues and muscles are retracted to allow a view of the spine. X-ray is used to accurately localise the correct spinal level. A part of or the entire lamina is removed to eliminate the pressure on the nerve roots. At the end of the procedure, the soft tissues are realigned and the incision is closed with absorbable sutures that don’t need to be removed.


Following a laminectomy, you may experience an immediate improvement of some or all symptoms, or sometimes a gradual improvement of the symptoms may occur. It is normal to experience some preoperative symptoms after the surgery as the nerves often remain inflamed for a period of time afterwards.
Allow 2 to 3 days for your hospital stay. You will be able to move and walk around shorty after your surgery . Returning back to your daily life or to work depends on how well you are healing and the type of work or activity level required. You will be given postoperative advice and written guidelines to help manage your recovery and regular follow up is provided by phone and appointment.