What Is a Hemilaminectomy Procedure?

A hemilaminectomy is a surgery to remove the lamina only on the side of your spinal canal that’s exhibited compression. This is a less invasive spine surgery than a full laminectomy, during which the lamina is removed almost in its entirety to decompress your spinal cord. A hemilaminectomy is a type of decompression surgery that provides more space inside your spinal column.

Your spinal cord is a bundle of nervous tissue and cells that acts as the nerve highway from your brain to the rest of your body. Changes in the structure of your spine cause nerve irritation, leading to pain and disability. Compression of the nerve roots is one of the most common causes of back pain and other debilitating symptoms.

Through decompressive hemilaminectomy, a top spine specialist creates more room for nerves to pass through. The spinal surgeons at Premier Brain & Spine in New York and New Jersey treat a wide range of spinal conditions with advanced procedures, such as hemilaminectomy.

What Does Hemilaminectomy Surgery Treat?

Your doctor may recommend hemilaminectomy to address a variety of symptoms caused by spinal cord compression. Decompressing your spine gives spinal nerves more room to pass through. Conditions your spine surgeon treats with a hemilaminectomy include:

  • Herniated disc. A damaged intervertebral disc that’s slipped or ruptured spills its nucleus into the spinal canal, causing chemical irritation and pinched nerves.
  • Spinal stenosis. This is a spinal condition that causes the spinal column to narrow, leading to compression of your spinal cord.
  • Symptoms of osteoarthritis. This spinal condition is characterized by the cartilage in the joints wearing out and discs of your spine drying out. The structural damage causes compression of your spinal nerves.
  • Radiculopathy. A pinched nerve root exiting your spinal column causes painful symptoms.
  • Bone spurs. Bony projections that form on your vertebrae pinch the nerves coming out of your spine. This nerve compression causes pain.
  • Myelopathy. This is a serious condition of the spine caused by severe compression of your spinal cord.
  • Facet joint syndrome. This is an arthritis-like condition that causes extreme pain in your back or neck.
  • Scoliosis. A sideways curvature of the spine, this abnormal spine deformity can be treated or arrested.

Specialists at the NJ spine center at Premier Brain & Spine may recommend hemilaminectomy surgery to relieve a compressed spinal cord and free irritated nerves. The surgery reduces pain and neurological symptoms associated with spinal nerve damage.

What Are the Types of a Hemilaminectomy?

Spinal compression can develop in any part of your spine. With diagnostic tests, your doctor determines the location of your compression. Some symptoms remain localized to that specific area, but others radiate to other parts of your body. The main types of a hemilaminectomy include:

  • Lumbar hemilaminectomy. Spinal compression in your lower back is common. This surgery treats symptoms associated with central spinal stenosis.
  • Thoracic hemilaminectomy. This procedure treats symptoms of spinal stenosis in your mid back.
  • Cervical hemilaminectomy. This is a surgical procedure to treat symptoms of spine compression in your neck.

If you experience sharp, shooting pain in your lower, upper or mid back, visit a spinal specialist at Premier Brain & Spine for a diagnosis. Your spinal specialist at this NY and NJ spine pain center diagnoses and treats spinal conditions including spinal cord compression.

Am I Candidate for a Hemilaminectomy?

Your doctor carries our tests to determine the underlying cause of your back pain. The tests determine if you’re a good candidate for a hemilaminectomy procedure. Symptoms that indicate this procedure can benefit you include:

  • Sciatica or a burning pain that radiates to your arms, buttocks or legs
  • Sharp pain and stiffness in your back
  • Poor sensation in your legs
  • Poor coordination in your hands
  • A loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Signs of nerve damage, such as numbness, tingling and weakness in your arms, legs or hands

While you may have these symptoms, only your spine specialist can confirm the need for a cervical, thoracic or lumbar hemilaminectomy. The spine specialists at this advanced spine surgery center use the latest technology in spinal treatments for the best outcomes.

What Does the Hemilaminectomy Procedure Involve?

Hemilaminectomy is an improvement over a traditional laminectomy. This surgery is less invasive, offers lower risk and enables faster recovery. The main steps in the procedure include:

  1. Preparation. Before your surgery, you must stop smoking and taking blood-thinning medications.
  2. Sedation. You’re given general anesthesia, so you sleep through the surgery.
  3. Procedure. The goal of hemilaminectomy is to provide pain relief and improve the flexibility and strength of your back. After making an incision, your surgeon removes the lamina on the side affected by compression. During the procedure, your doctor may combine the hemilaminectomy with other spinal procedures to relieve your pain and other symptoms.

Follow your doctor’s instructions closely and take the prescribed pain medications as needed. Attend the follow-up visits with your doctor. At some point, you’ll need physical therapy. If you notice any complications, like excessive pain or fever, contact your doctor immediately.

Can Hemilaminectomy Be Combined with Other Procedures?

The best spinal surgeons in NJ and NY may combine a hemilaminectomy with other procedures to improve severe symptoms. The combination procedures help address other issues in your spine causing pain and disability. Common procedures combined with a hemilaminectomy include:

  • Hemilaminectomy discectomy. This two-step spinal procedure combines a hemilaminectomy and a discectomy. Your surgeon first removes a lamina bone to decompress the spinal cord and then removes a herniated disc.
  • Decompressive hemilaminectomy. During this spinal procedure, your doctor removes a lamina and then releases the compressed nerves to relieve pain and restore function to your arms or legs.
  • Laminotomy hemilaminectomy surgery. In a laminotomy, your surgeon cuts an opening one of the two lamina bones. Using the holes, the doctor decompresses the root nerves and spinal cord to alleviate pain and other severe symptoms.
  • Hemilaminectomy microdiscectomy surgery. This spinal procedure combines a microdiscectomy with a hemilaminectomy. Your doctor first cuts a small opening in a lamina and guides an endoscopic camera through the opening. After identifying the problem, your doctor removes the damaged parts of the disc or bone spurs causing the nerve irritation through that same small opening.

Your doctor chooses to combine these procedures for improved outcomes. The spinal specialists at the spine center in NJ and NY have the expertise and tools to perform these complex procedures safely and effectively. A hemilaminectomy offers pain relief while improving your quality of life. Contact the spine specialists at Premier Brain & Spine to enjoy the most advanced spinal treatments.