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Is performing a laminectomy a typical part of a microdiscectomy?

BrihtwulfBBrihtwulf Posts: 69
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
My first spinal surgery was in 2008 when I had a microdiscectomy. I thought I recalled that the procedure was explained to me as removing a small piece of vertebra just to the side of the lamina (a hole large enough to extract the necessary ruptured disc fragments). I don't remember anything being said about removing the entire lamina. Anyway, I was just looking back at some of the x-ray images from afterwards, and noticed that they had removed the lamina completely.

Is there any effect to not having the lamina there, or does it not really make a difference? Just something that came to mind recently as I didn't think anyone ever said they were planning to (or that they had done it afterward) remove it.



  • The lamina is what helps to maintain structural integrity of the spinal column. It is one reason why surgeons usually cannot perform a series of discectomies in adjoining discs without some sort of fusing technique. Often just a piece of the lamina (a little window) is removed so that the surgeon can access the disc. If the surgeon can get at the disc, then this is not necessary. I would imagine it is less common in a micro-discectomy than in an open one. At least, this is how I understand it!

    I don't know the percentage of discectomies where part of the lamina is removed. It is done more frequently to decompress the nerve.
  • My paperwork says I had a microdiscectomny, laminectomy and foramenextomy. I assumed that meant they removed what they needed to decompress the nerves.
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  • Pretty much all but one technique I found involved removing a small amount of lamina to have direct access and vision of the herniation.
    It appears it weakens the structure. Scar tissue fills the void.

    The micro-d version I chose does not use this technique. They go in thru the foramins. The trade-off is there is no direct vision of the herniation.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
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