SPINAL SURGERY

in Hull and East Yorkshire

GEORGE SPINK FRCS (Neurosurg.) BSc Hons

 

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LUMBAR LAMINECTOMY

Patients with spinal canal stenosis who are not suitable for a minimal access procedure such as IDD aperius can be treated by a decompressive lumbar laminectomy. This involves removing worn out bone and ligament from the back of the spinal canal to free the nerve roots from compression.

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and lasts approximately 1 hour. The wound is closed using skin clips that need to be removed 1 week after surgery this can be done by the ward staff or by the practice nurse at the GPs surgery. Most patients have a wound drain, which is removed 24 hours after surgery. Patients are usually well enough to go home the day after surgery and will be recovering at home for another 4-6 weeks.


The risks of the operation include:

            Wound infection (2%)

            Spinal fluid leak (1%)

            Blood clot at operation site requiring re-operation (1%)

Nerve root injury resulting in worsening leg pain, numbness, weakness or paralysis (1%)

Cauda equina injury resulting in leg weakness, incontinence or impotence (1 in 2000)

No improvement in symptoms (10%)

Risk of spinal instability requiring further surgery (1%)

            General anaesthetic risks, including a small risk to life

 

Following surgery the patient may notice some back pain and stiffness but this should settle with simple anti-inflammatory medication, such as Neurofen. Some patients will develop tingling in the legs after surgery. This is due to swelling in the nerve following manipulation at surgery. It is temporary and will settle down after a few days.

Patients do not usually need to wear a back brace or support. A specialist physiotherapist will advice each patient on a postoperative exercise regime, to encourage back movements, rather than restrict them.