Laminectomy vs Discectomy: What Are the Differences?

laminectomy vs discectomy

Some medical conditions can turn what should be a routine visit to the family doctor into a scenario fraught with potential complications and uncertainty.

So, try to avoid them as best you can and do what you can to keep your body aches from acting up!

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a back issue, you’re probably debating surgical vs non-surgical treatments. If so, you’ve likely heard terms like laminectomy and discectomy thrown around.

What are the differences between laminectomy vs discectomy? What kind of recovery time do they require? Why do some doctors recommend one over the other?

Let’s take a look!

What is a Laminectomy?

A laminectomy is a type of spinal surgery that involves removing a portion of the lamina. That is the bony plate that covers the spinal canal. This surgery is performed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.

Laminectomy can be performed as open or minimally invasive surgery. The type of surgery performed will depend on the severity of the condition being treated; either laminectomy or laminotomy.

The terms laminectomy and laminotomy can be confusing. You just have to know that laminectomy is a medical procedure that requires the removal of a portion of the lamina (complete). Laminotomy on the other hand only requires a small part of the lamina (partial).

What is a Discectomy?

A discectomy is a surgical procedure to remove a herniated disc that is pressing on a nerve. A herniated disc can cause back pain and leg pain. This type of surgery is called a microdiscectomy.

It is done through a small incision in the back. During the procedure, the surgeon removes the herniated disc and any other damaged tissue. The goal of the surgery is to relieve the pressure on the nerve.

What’s the Difference Between Laminectomy vs Discectomy?

A laminectomy involves the removal of the lamina, which is the bony arch that covers the spinal canal. A discectomy, on the other hand, involves the removal of the disc itself.

In addition, a laminectomy is typically a more extensive surgery because it involves the removal of surrounding ligaments and tissues. A laminectomy is typically performed as an open surgery, while a discectomy can be performed either as an open or minimally invasive surgery.

Why Doctors Recommend Laminectomy Over Discectomy

There are a few reasons why a doctor might recommend a laminectomy over a discectomy.

Less Surgical Removal

One reason is that a laminectomy can be performed without resorting to surgical removal of the disc. This is because a laminectomy removes only the lamina, or the back part of the vertebra, which covers the spinal canal. This access method may be less disruptive to the spine than a discectomy.

Better Visuals to the Spine and Nerves

A laminectomy allows the surgeon to better visualize the spinal cord and nerves. This is important because it can help the surgeon avoid injuring these delicate structures during the procedure.

Learning the Difference Between Laminectomy vs Discectomy Helps

If you’re considering surgery to relieve lower back pain caused by a herniated disc, it’s important to understand the difference between a laminectomy vs discectomy.

Learning the difference between a laminectomy and a discectomy can help you make an informed decision about the best treatment for your condition.

Both procedures involve removing part of the vertebrae to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. Your surgeon will recommend the procedure that’s best for you based on the location and extent of your herniated disc.

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