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Questions about a laminectomy....

wildfire_101wwildfire_101 Posts: 68
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:48 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am on here alot looking around, reading other people's stories and posting when i have questions or concerns. I got an email today from my insurance company saying that my doctor should have an approval for my back surgery no later than Monday.I'm not going to give much back ground on here because that is in my other posts and just don't feel i need to add it in all over again..I guess when my back doctor sent in the referral for the surgery he left out a few diagnosis codes, in which tacked on another 5 days for it to be reviewed. With my insurance company any referral that is sent in and is an in-patient procedure they have 5 buisness days to give their response unless the insurance company needs more info then that adds another 5 days and so on and so forth... anyway when i talked to the insurance company about it she went over with me what exactly the referral was for and i didnt know that i was also having a laminectomy (hope that is spelled right)done along with the TLIF surgery. Now maybe these 2 things go hand in hand and i would not know that. I dont have much knowledge when it comes to these type of things. Well my one of my questions is does this hinder my recovery time at all? Is this something that does go hand in hand together? And why would someone need that done? i dont even really know what that means to be honest. And there is something i have wanted to know but keep forgetting to ask. How long does this type of spinal fusion surgery take? As in the operating room... My hubby was asking me and i totally forgot to ask the doctor and i wont see him again until surgery day...So if anyone can just give me a estimated guess on what to expect that would be fine.. thanks in advance for the responses.. like i have said before in my other posts i do appreciate it.


  • When I had my 2 level PLIF, it included a discetomey, which is part of the process. I am assuming it is part of the process for your procedure. I know you are having it laproscopy, and I they say an hour for each level. To be honest, my last surgery was suppose to be 4 -5 hours and it was 8. I dont know how long the next 2 level min invasive is gonna be. I just know it should be alot quicker than the last! Thank goodness.
  • Hi there...I would say you can always call your doctor's office to get clarification on a question like that. It's something they can have the doctor call you back on or even have the nurse or practitioner can answer.

    Anyhow, I had a microdiscectomy which I thought was just cutting away the disc that herniated out of the spine. When I saw the report, I didn't realize that they had done a laminectomy too but it was part of the procedure...I guess I just didn't understand.

    I would ask but from my understanding when they do the fusion, they cut away the lamina (bone) on one side so they can get the disc out completely before putting the spacer, rods, and screws in. And, most doctors will crush the lamina and mix it with a synthetic material to help the fusion.

    When you see the doctor...talk to him and ask him exactly what he is doing

    1- how big will the incision be?
    2- what material are the rods/screws (titaneum is the norm)
    3 - will he remove the entire disc?
    4 - what material is the spacer? does he cut bone?
    5- will he use cadeavor bone or some of your hip bone to help the fusion or will he crush the lamina
    6 - should you worry about donating any of your own blood in advance in case you need a transfusion
    7 - what to expect after the surgery?

    I'll try to think of the other questions too but see if your husband, family member, or good friend will go with you to take notes for you and/or even ask some questions. I found that I had to bring my husband b/c I was leaving very confused.
  • I just had a TLIF with discectomy on the 3rd. It makes perfect sense that they would clean up the disc material up that is protruding before doing a fusion, no? Call the doctor and check but it is is probably just part of the clean up.

  • ok i can answer some of the questions you asked being he told me some of what was going to happen..the incision is going to be about 5 to 6 inches long....and as for the rods/screws that i dont know..he is removing the entire disc because he said it is pretty much useless..and he is using bone from the bone bank from what he told me...he told me that i dont need to donate any blood for the procedure and that is one of the reasons he is going in on the side, less of a bleeding risk...I am not sure what you mean by material for the spacer..all i know is he called it a cage..he was pretty honest about everything when i was in there and he definitely didnt sugar coat anything.. he told me it was going to be pretty painful and i will have a slow recovery especially with having RSD in my left leg and about 45% loss of ROM in that leg as well.. in which stemmed from a knee surgery that my body pretty much rejected.. instead of trying to heal my body attacked itself and caused me many problems and that was over 2 years ago and still dealing with it..and my hubby always goes with me but this time he left kind of confused as well.. which is the first..lol but thank you for the input and i hope that answered some of your questions, so that maybe you can help me answer mine.. thanks a bunch!
  • ok thanks for the information..and yeah i guess you are right that it makes sense.. though i have never had any back issues until recently so alot of this stuff is still new to me...and they are taking the disc out completely.. i do know that being he said that..
  • I had a laminectomy in May 2009, it worked great for my siatica.
    In July of this year I had fusion of L5-S1 and laminectomies at L2, L3 and L4. It was a 10 hour surgery. I have 5 scars from the surgery, 2 for the fusion and 3 for the laminectomies, but they are only 2" scars.

    Check out my surgery story at:

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