Laminectomy, Laminotomy, Foraminotomy, Laminoforaminotomy
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Laminectomy, laminotomy, foraminotomy, and laminoforaminotomy are related procedures in which a surgeon removes bone from the spine.
This page will give a general overview of these procedures.
- Laminectomy: This is a common procedure that removes part of the lamina, the bony “roof” of the spinal canal. The extent of bone removal depends on the situation: in some cases, only part of one side of one lamina is removed. In a more extensive removal, the surgeon may remove both sides of several laminae. Common reasons for a laminectomy are to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots caused by spinal stenosis or to grant the surgeon access to the spinal canal to remove a tumor or vascular malformation.
- Laminotomy: A laminotomy is like a laminectomy in which only a small amount of the lamina is removed. A laminotomy is performed to remove a herniated disc during a microdiscectomy or to allow the surgical treatment of a synovial cyst.
- Foraminotomy: Nerves enter and exit the spinal canal through specialized gaps in spinal joints called foramina. A foraminotomy re-opens the foramina when they have been narrowed by an overgrowth of bone.
- Laminoforaminotomy: A foraminotomy is often performed at the same time as a laminectomy or a laminotomy. The combination of procedures is called a laminoforaminotomy.
In most cases, these procedures will not significantly affect the strength of the spine. The bone removed from the lamina or foramina does not necessarily need to be replaced with anything.
However, if the tissue removal is significant and/or the spine has been weakened by an underlying condition, in some cases the surgeon will perform a spinal fusion. This procedure uses bone graft and metal implants to restore spinal strength and stability.