What Is Microlaminectomy and Microlaminotomy?

Written by Jason M. Highsmith, MD

Microlaminectomy and microlaminotomy are types of minimally invasive spine surgery. Like microdiscectomy and microforaminotomy, they are a type of decompression procedure that takes pressure off your nerves and spinal cord, which can help reduce your back pain and/or leg pain.

Surgeons have been doing traditional open laminectomies and laminotomies a lot longer than microlaminectomies and microlaminotomies, but the traditional open approaches have a few drawbacks.

They often involve a large incision, as well as more cutting of your back muscles and tissues. Also, recovery from open spine surgery sometimes can be painful and slow.

However, whether you have a traditional laminectomy (or laminotomy—the difference is explained below) or a microlaminectomy, the goal is the same: to relieve your pain.

When Is a Microlaminectomy or Microlaminotomy Used?
The lamina is a bony part of your spine, and it makes up part of your spinal canal. You can think of it as the "roof" of your spine.

A laminectomy (the total removal of the lamina) or a laminotomy (removing part of the lamina) is used for 2 reasons:

How Are Microlaminectomy and Microlaminotomy Performed?
A microlaminectomy and microlaminotomy can be performed using one of these techniques:

You'll be lying down on your stomach during a microlaminectomy or microlaminotomy, and typically, you'll have general anesthesia. Using one of the techniques mentioned above, your surgeon will remove part or all of your lamina, depending on your condition.

A microlaminectomy or microlaminotomy usually takes less than 1 ½ hours to perform.

Microlaminectomy and Microlaminotomy Risks
In addition to the typical complications of surgery, such as blood loss during surgery and post-operative pain, there are additional risks for microlaminectomy and microlaminotomy:

Microlaminectomy and Microlaminotomy Recovery
Microlaminectomy and microlaminotomy are attractive options because patients can quickly return to their normal lives. Your doctor will let you know when you can return to exercising and other typical activities.

Continue Reading

Mini-open ALIF