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Laminectomy and laminotomy are surgeries done to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and/or spinal nerve roots by removing all or part of the lamina. The lamina, the thin part of the bones that make up the spine (vertebrae), protects the spinal cord.
Age-related changes in the spine may narrow the opening through which the spinal cord runs (spinal canal), and the spinal cord and/or nerve roots may become squeezed. Laminotomy removes part of the lamina. Laminectomy removes all of the lamina on selected vertebrae. It also may remove thickened ligament tissue. The choice of procedure depends on where the spinal problem is and how bad it is. Less pressure on the nerve roots often can relieve leg or arm pain and can allow you to resume normal daily activities.
Last Revised: March 12, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
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