One of the most common back surgeries, Laminectomy, also called decompression, is a surgical procedure to remove the lamina, or back part of the vertebra that covers the spinal canal. Often times, bone spurs and ligaments that are pressing on nerves may also be removed. The process enlarges the spinal canal, relieving pressure on the spinal cord or nerves caused by narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis).
Laminectomy is consistently used when a more conservative treatment, such as medication and physical therapy, has failed to relieve symptoms, or when symptoms are severe. At its most minimally invasive, the procedure requires only small skin incisions. The back muscles are pushed aside rather than cut and the parts of the vertebra adjacent to the lamina are left intact.