The surgeons within the Department of Neurosurgery perform surgical laminectomy procedures hundreds of times each year. This procedure involves removing all or a portion of the spinal lamina, the back part of the spinal column. This procedure can be performed for many different reasons, including spinal decompression and to gain access to the spinal cord for the removal of spinal cord lesions.

Spinal stenosis is a condition where your spinal cord or spinal nerve roots are compressed within the spinal canal. Although it can be a congenital condition, spinal stenosis is most commonly a degenerative condition that occurs as people age. It can occur in your neck, middle back, and lower back.

When spinal stenosis occurs in your neck, common symptoms can include pain in your neck and arms with weakness and numbness of one or both arms occurring in some cases. Stenosis in the neck can also cause spinal cord injuries with resulting problems with balance, walking, and leg strength.

Spinal stenosis in your lower back is a very common condition, which increases in frequency as people age. Common symptoms can include pain in your back and legs. Often, you will also develop weakness and numbness of one or both legs as well. Neurogenic claudication is a condition in which leg pain and cramping are present when you stand or walk. Symptoms typically resolve with rest. Although this is not a life-threatening condition, it can significantly affect your quality of life.

Surgical treatment of spinal stenosis involves relieving the compression on your nerves, thus the common term of a “decompressive” operation or a “spinal decompression.” When performed appropriately on properly selected patients, these operations are quite successful. The vast majority of patients will have a decreased level of pain and improved quality of life.


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