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discectomy? laminectomy?

ouch2oouch2 Posts: 1,270
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:55 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hi All, I had a two level microdiscectomy 5 weeks ago and had an appointment for follow up with surgeon and an xray yesterday.

He said that when he got into the surgery site the problem was a lot more than he originally thought. He did the discectomy, but also said that he had to cut away ALOT of bone as well in order to free up the nerve. When they cut away the bone is this a laminectomy? Do to the fact that he stressed that he had to cut away alot of bone, will this increase my chances of reherniation or instability? I had differing opinions before surgery, one being a fusion, the other two going the more conservative approach of micro discectomy.

When they cut away the bone, do they mean the vertebrae,facet joint? Just concerns me about future problems since he stressed that they had to remove so much.

Thanks once again all, for any info.

>:D< Karen

>:D< >:-D< : Karen
L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
adr L5-S1 Feb 2012


  • Hi Karen! I can't answer all of your questions, but yes, when they cut away the bone, that is called a laminectomy. That is exactly what I had done, except mine was thoracic (two levels as well). Not sure as to how it affects the stability of the spine if they have to remove a lot of bone. I'm guessing even though he said a lot of bone, it's still a relatively small amount when you think of the overall amount of bone that makes up the vertebrae.

    When they cut away the bone, I don't believe it's the facet joint, I think it's just a small portion of bone that is covering the disc.

    Sorry I can't be of more help to you. I'm actually pretty frustrated and feeling discouraged today :(
    My MRI from this past Saturday came back, with absolutely no explanation, from what I can tell, for this terrible left-sided pain I've been having for nearly 3 weeks now. I have a call in to my doctor's office, but I doubt I'll hear from them today.
  • You could be fine once you heal even though your surgeon had to remove a lot of bone to free the nerve. Each one of us heals differently and you'll need to be careful with activities, always keeping your back in mind before you do something. I have to break up my activities into shorter times and get up and walk around to keep flexible.

    I had a laminectomy/discectomy in 09 which didn't work for me and it created instability, so I ended up having a fusion.

    Keep positive about your surgery and you may find it will work for you.


    XLIF L2-4 20.8.15
    ALIF L4/5 2009
    Laminectomy/discectomy L4/5 2008
  • Thank you for your comments. I knew that the surgery ended up being more involved than planned, but wasn't exactly sure what he did (technical term, laminectomy, foraminotomy,decompression. When reading up on them, they all sound so similiar)

    When I saw the xray and the big gapping hole where the bone was I was concerned as it seems that it would become unstable. The good thing though I guess, it will hopefully free up space for the nerve. I knew going into the less invasive route there was the possibility of it not succeding or needing future surgery. Fingers crossed.

    Doctor wants me to wait before starting physio and just continue to try to do as much walking as possible.Going back to see him in a couple of weeks.Hopefully by then I will see some kind of improvement.

    Thank you again, and hope that everyone is having a pain reduced day.

    >:D< Karen
    >:D< >:-D< : Karen
    L3-S1 herniation and bulges, stenosis, mod facet,ddd,impinged nerves,coccydinia
    discectomy/lami July 2011-unsuccessful
    adr L5-S1 Feb 2012
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