Wisconsin River Orthopaedic Institute - Health Library
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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.



When to Call Your Doctor

Once at home, call your doctor if you have any of the symptoms below:

  • Unusual redness, heat, or drainage at the incision site

  • Increasing pain, numbness, or weakness in your leg

  • Fever over 101.0°F

Vertebrae are the bones that make up the spine. Laminectomy is a surgery that removes the part of the vertebra called the lamina. This takes pressure off nerves in the low back and helps reduce symptoms.

Cutaway view of vertabrae

Before Your Surgery

You will most likely arrive at the hospital on the morning of the surgery. Be sure to follow all of your doctors instructions on preparing for surgery.

  • You should stop eating or drinking 10 hours before surgery.

  • If you take a daily medication, ask if you should still take it the morning of surgery.

  • At the hospital, your temperature, pulse, breathing, and blood pressure will be checked.

  • An IV (intravenous) line may be started to provide fluids and medications needed during surgery.

During Your Surgery

  • Once in the operating room, youll be given anesthesia.

  • After you are asleep, an incision is made near the center of your low back. The incision may be 2 to 6 inches long, depending on how many vertebrae are involved.

  • During a laminectomy, the lamina (bone that forms the back of the spinal canal) is removed from the affected vertebra. The opening created may be enough to take pressure off the nerve. If needed, your doctor can also remove any bone spurs or disk matter pressing on the nerve. After laminectomy, the opening in the spine is protected by the thick back muscles.

  • Once the nerve is free of pressure, the incision is closed with stitches or surgical staples.

After Your Surgery

After surgery, you'll be sent to the PACU (postanesthesia care unit). When you are fully awake, you'll be moved to your room. The nurses will give you medications to ease your pain. You may have a catheter (small tube) in your bladder. Soon, healthcare providers will help you get up and moving. You'll also be shown how to keep your lungs clear.

Publication Source: Eidelson MD, Stewart

Publication Source: SpineUniverse.com

Online Source: Eidelson MD, Stewart

Online Source: SpineUniverse.com

Date Last Reviewed: 2007-01-15T00:00:00-07:00

Date Last Modified: 2005-06-02T00:00:00-06:00

Contact Wisconsin River Orthopaedic Institute at 715.424.1881 for your orthopaedic needs. For your convenience, you can fill out our online Request an Appointment form to book your consultation.


"I am very impressed with the quality of treatment by the Doctors and all of the staff…excellent is the only word to describe my experience. - D.P."
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For your orthopedic needs, contact Wisconsin River Orthopaedic Institute at 715.424.1881 . For your convenience, you can fill out our online Request an Appointment form to book your consultation. We...
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