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Laminectomy in Northern New Jersey

Illustration Comparing Healthy and Osteoarthritic SpinePatients with bone spurs, spinal stenosis, or other conditions that affect the spinal nerves can find pain relief with a routine surgery called a laminectomy. The experienced doctors at the Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics can provide laminectomy surgery for patients who have not found pain relief from other treatment methods such as physical therapy or pain management. CNSO, with multiple locations in Northern New Jersey, provides both conservative and surgical care for neck and back pain.

What Is a Laminectomy?

Each vertebra of the spine has lamina on both sides of the spinal process. Laminae are the bony arches located on the posterior portion of the spine. A laminectomy is a type of spine surgery that removes portion of the lamina to gain access to a portion of the spine or spinal cord. A laminectomy is commonly done to remove pressure off the adjacent nerves or spinal cord.  TIn this instance the procedure is also known as a decompression surgery. A laminectomy can be used to treat pain caused by:

  • MVA: During a motor vehicle accident, the patient’s neck and spine can be devistatingly impacted by the forces of the impact causing the malalignment of the spine.
  • Tumor of the Spine: Tumors can grown in the vertebral bones, the spinal cord, or the nerves at the point where they branch off the spine.
  • Arthritis of the spine: As a patient gets older, the vertebral bones of the spine begin to break down, which can lead to pain, stiffness, and inflammation in the back.
  • Bone spurs: Spinal bone spurs typically develop along the edge of facet joints where vertebrae meet each other and can cause chronic back pain.
  • Herniated disc: When one of the discs between a patient’s spinal bones is displaced because of an injury or normal wear and tear, the disc can begin pressing on the spinal nerves, causing pain, weakness, or numbness, down an extremity.
  • Spinal stenosis: This is a common condition, often caused by arthritis, in which narrowing of the spinal canal puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.

For many patients, relief from these back conditions can be achieved with conservative treatment options such as:

A laminectomy is recommended only if these initial treatment methods have not provided sufficient pain relief.

Procedure and Recovery

A group of adults participating in an outdoor yoga class A laminectomy is a routine surgical procedure that typically is performed by a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon fellowship trained in spine. The surgery typically takes one to three hours. Often, patients can go home on the same day unless they require an extensive reconstruction and fusion.  The level of the spine in which the laminectomy will be performed is referenced as follows:

  • Cervical laminectomy: Surgical removal of a lamina from the neck
  • Thoracic laminectomy: Surgical removal of a lamina from the middle of the back
  • Lumbar laminectomy: Surgical removal of a lamina from the lower back 

During the procedure, the patient may be under general anesthesia, so they will not feel any pain. The patient is positioned on their back or side, depending on which part of their spine is being treated. After the surgeon makes a small incision over the selected vertebra, they will remove a small portion of the back of the vertebrae. They also may remove part of an adjacent spinal disc. Once the procedure is complete, the incision site is closed with stitches.

After surgery, a patient may feel soreness or stiffness at the incision site but will be given medication to minimize any discomfort. Once the patient has been discharged, they will return home. Their stitches are removed during a follow-up visit, often two weeks after the procedure and at the surgeon’s office.

Most patients need to limit or adjust their activities after surgery. They will need to avoid bending, twisting, and picking up heavy objects for a short period of time. Typically, patients will begin a course of physical therapy shortly after surgery to restore strength and flexibility in their spine. Recovery time varies.  Some patients have a laminectomy along with another procedure such as spinal fusion, which can lengthen recovery time. Many patients can return to work within a couple of weeks, but this will depend on the physical demands of their job.

At CNSO, 95-98% of patients experience a complete resolution of their symptoms.   

Broad Expertise in Spine Surgery

Using a collaborative approach to care, CNSO’s team includes neurosurgeons, orthopedic spine surgeons, pain management specialists, physical therapists, and physiatrists. The board-certified physicians at CNSO have extensive experience in performing a wide range of surgical procedures. In addition to laminectomy, surgical treatments at CNSO include:

  • Cervical disc replacement: This outpatient procedure replaces a damaged or diseased spinal disc in the neck with an artificial one. The surgery can help relieve pain from a herniated or deformed cervical disc causing cervical radiculopathy.
  • Discectomy: In this common procedure, a surgeon removes a port of intervertebral disc material that is pressing on the spinal cord or a nerve root.
  • Spinal fusion surgery: This procedure permanently connects two or more vertebrae to treat spinal instability, scoliosis or severe spinal deformity. It also is sometimes required after surgically removing a spinal tumor.
  • Laser spine surgery: Often performed in conjunction with minimally invasive spine surgery, laser surgery can be used to remove spinal tumors.
  • Minimally invasive spine surgery: Conditions such as herniated disc stenosis, and sciatica all can be treated with minimally invasive surgery, depending on their severity and the patient’s overall health. Patients benefit from a shorter recovery time and less trauma at the incision site.
  • Robotic spine surgery: Robotic platforms and spine navigation systems can be used to improve patient outcomes during complex procedures such as spinal revision surgery and spinal deformity treatment.
Common causes for patients to undergo a laminectomy surgery stem from arthritis of the spine, bone spurs, spinal stenosis, or by way of other surgery (discectomy) to remove a herniated disc.

Learn More About Surgery at CNSO

Patients seeking treatment for chronic back pain will find personalized, compassionate care at CNSO. Recognized as a Spine Center of Excellence for more than ten years running, CNSO is the state’s most comprehensive brain and spine care center. With multiple locations throughout Northern NJ, CNSO serves patients in:

  • Bergen County
  • Essex County
  • Hudson County
  • Morris County
  • Passaic County

At CNSO, each patient benefits from coordinated care, from their first consultation to their final follow-up visit. For more information about spine surgery at CNSO, contact us today.


CNSO Conditions for Spine and Brain Surgery

Our Medical Staff

In order to provide an accurate diagnosis with the most effective treatment option for “back problems” and brain tumors, CNSO is led by neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons. Under the care of our award-winning neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons, Northern NJ patients can have the confidence that their medical condition will be handled with consideration for their comfort and long-term well-being as well as technical excellence.

Centers for Neurosurgery Spine & Orthopedics