Lumbar Laminectomy

San Francisco back pain sufferers – Eliminate back pain with a Lumbar Laminectomy & Fusion surgery.   80% of San Francisco back pain patients who undergo a successful laminectomy, significantly reduce back pain and the underlying issues that cause it.   During a San Francisco lumbar laminectomy, a spinal surgeon removes pressure on spinal nerves in the lumbar spine (lower back) by opening the spinal canal and making it larger. In a posterior procedure this is done through an incision made in the patient’s back. As a result, the nerves in the lumbar spine that pass through the spinal cord are protected and the pain caused by degenerative changes in the invertebral discs of the lumbar spine and the joints in that region is lessened. Literally laminectomy translates to “remove the lamina” (the back side of the spinal canal that forms the roof over the spinal cord).  

What is it?

  Degenerative disc disease can lead to spinal stenosis, when the invertebrae and bone spurs within the invertebrae put pressure on the spinal nerves. With spinal stenosis the only way to relieve back pain for San Francisco sufferers is to widen the spinal canal and remove any bone spurs putting pressure on the spinal nerves. This is done during a laminectomy. As a result the spinal nerves are no longer irritated and swelling will go down leading to a decrease in back pain. Before surgery an x-ray is done to identify which vertebrae are causing the issues in the back. These are the ones Dr. Abbi will target during surgery. In some cases a San Francisco lumbar laminectomy are done as minimally invasive surgeries. In this case the surgeon will make a few small incisions to access the spine and use small tools to remove damaged lamina and bone spurs. This saves patients the large incision used in an open procedure as well as many risks associated with open procedures. However, not every patient is a candidate for a minimally invasive spine surgery. If much of the facet joints are removed during surgery then a fusion will be done during the operation to ensure the spine’s integrity. During a fusion the vertebrae are fused together. This prevents motion in the area between the two vertebrae but it also increases stability in the region. An instable spine is susceptible to several problems later in life. After San Francisco lumbar laminectomy surgery it can take weeks or even months to heal. Rehabilitation programs will help patients strengthen their backs but back pain patients in San Francisco should assume they will not be able to drive for two weeks and may need strong medications to get by in the beginning. Patients may also need to make adjustments while showering and bathing to keep the incision site clean and dry.  


  The purpose of a lumbar laminectomy is to alleviate back pain in the lumbar (or lower) spine by relieving pressure on the spinal nerves caused by spinal stenosis. When a fusion is done as part of a laminectomy the goal is to offer increased stability in the spine and prevent future problems in that area. For many, spine surgery is a life-changing operation; one that returns them to normal daily life with reduced pain or completely relieved of back pain in the targeted area.  


  The largest benefit of undergoing a lumbar laminectomy in San Francisco is reduced or completely eliminated lower back pain. With a minimally invasive procedure there are additional benefits, including faster healing and reduced risk of infection. Scars are also smaller and often less visible. A San Francisco lumbar laminectomy is completed in order to relieve a patient of significant lower back pain caused by pressure on the spinal nerves. When fusions are done as part of a lumbar laminectomy, stability is often also improved. This can create better posture and ease of performing daily tasks. Some patients may be able to ditch their walkers, canes or other assistive walking devices after surgery.    

Areas the Surgery Helps:

  San Francisco lumbar laminectomy surgery reduces or eliminates knee and leg pain.  

What conditions can be treated?

  San Francisco lumbar laminectomy surgery treats degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and severe back pain.  

The procedure:

  How long a San Francisco lumbar laminectomy takes depends on how many vertebrae need to be treated and whether or not the procedure is open or minimally invasive.  
  • An x-ray is done to identify the vertebrae causing the pain.
  • The patient will be given general anesthesia.
  • An incision (or several small incisions) is made down the center of the back and the muscles are moved aside so the surgeon can access the spine.
  • The lamina are removed on the problem vertebrae as well as any bone spurs putting pressure on the spinal nerves.
  • Once the small amount of bone has been removed, it is then possible to remove the herniated disc and other soft tissues around the nerve.
  • The patient will undergo a fusion as well if needed.
  • The patient is closed using sutures and staples and wheeled to recovery.


  As with every surgery there are risks, and spinal surgeries can be especially risky for some patients. Additional pain or even paralysis can occur because surgeons are working so close to the spinal cord. Several types of injury to the spinal cord, in fact, are possible. In some patients pain relief is not significant and numbness, tingling and significant pain post-operation can happen. Difficulty breathing and other lung problems can also arise. In some cases the hardware inserted during surgery can fracture or hardware can migrate to an area of the body where it does not belong requiring subsequent surgeries. There are other risks associated with general anesthesia and incisions such as a serious reaction to the drugs or infection in the wound. As with any surgery that keeps you immobile for a period of time a patient can develop blood clots, or DVT. Those in poor health or elderly patients face increased risks. For a complete list of possible complications, consult Dr. Abbi.  

After the procedure:

  Significant pain is common post-surgery and the San Francisco back pain patient will likely spend a few days in the hospital. Physical therapy as well as pain medication will be prescribed and Dr. Abbi will get patients up and moving as soon as possible to limit post-surgical risks. With a fusion, patients can expect recovery to take 2-4 months. Without a fusion a patient should be performing many normal tasks in about two weeks.  


  There are several types of back surgery that can be done to relieve back pain for San Francisco patients in the lumbar spine for. Before surgery is recommended, other interventions such as physical therapy or pain medication are often tried. The procedure outlined in this article covers both open and minimally invasive approaches. Some surgeons may suggest alternative approaches in a similar surgery. A lumbar laminectomy is, however, one of the most popular types of back surgery completed in the U.S.  


  Without health insurance a lumbar laminectomy can cost anywhere from $50,000-90,000 on average. However, for those with medical insurance, the insurance company should cover a significant portion of the procedure leaving San Francisco back pain patients to pay between $200-2,000 on average, plus any deductible that needs to be met.  


  Lumbar Laminectomy. (n.d.). Retrieved from     Getting a Laminectomy: Before, During, and After. (n.d.). Retrieved from   How Much Does Back Surgery Cost? - (n.d.). Retrieved from
A microdiscectomy is the specific name for the procedure to alleviate pressure on nerves which are compressed due to a disc herniation. The procedure involves removing a small amount of bone to allow access to the spinal canal. The bone that is removed is not important for the structural support of the spine so removing this bone does not lead to instability or dysfunction. Once the small amount of bone has been removed, it is then possible to remove the herniated disc and other soft tissues around the nerve. The remainder of the disc is left in place to provide motion and stability.

Come see Dr. Abbi today at one of his office locations