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Combat Back Pain with a Laminectomy


A laminectomy (or spinal decompression) is a type of spinal surgery that may relieve severe back pain.  During a laminectomy, the space within your spinal canal is opened up to relieve pressure on spinal nerves by removing a bony area of the spine, also known as the lamina.

If back pain is dramatically impacting your quality of life, ask the orthopedic specialists at Dignity Health if you’re an ideal candidate for a laminectomy.

Why Laminectomies are Performed 

A laminectomy may be an option if nonsurgical treatments, such as physical therapy and medications, haven’t worked for you.

Your doctor may additionally recommend a laminectomy if you have persistent back pain or leg pain, weakness or numbness due to:

What You Should Expect

A laminectomy can be either a minimally invasive procedure with a few small incisions or an open procedure with a larger incision. Depending on the type of surgery you receive, you may be able to go home the same day, or you may have to spend a few nights in the hospital.

Your doctor will encourage you to walk soon after surgery, and will include physical therapy as part of your recovery plan. A full recovery may take four to six weeks or more.

How Your Everyday Life May Be Different

Most people return to activities they could no longer do before surgery. Keep in mind you’ll need to take precautions to prevent future back problems, including: 

  • Exercising to strengthen your back and leg muscles
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Practicing good posture
  • Using proper body mechanics when lifting or carrying heavy objects 

To effectively treat your back pain in the Bay Area, come to Dignity Health for a laminectomy. If you want to fully benefit from our orthopedic offerings, Find a Doctor in your area.

Dignity Health specializes in a number of orthopedic procedures, including laminectomies, in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Redwood City.