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Laminotomy is the partial removal of the lamina to help relieve the pain and pressure in the leg from sciatica associated with a herniated disc.

Learn what to expect from surgery

It is performed through an incision down the center of the back over the area of the herniated disc. During this procedure, a portion of the lamina may be removed. Once the incision is made through the skin, the muscles are moved to the side so that the surgeon can see the back of the vertebra. A small opening is made between the two vertebrae to gain access to the herniated disc. After the disc is removed through a discectomy, the spine is stabilized. Spinal fusion often is performed in conjunction with a laminotomy. In more involved cases, a laminectomy may be performed.

Based on the severity of the injury or condition, the surgeon may be able to use minimally invasive surgery. This involves a smaller incision of about one inch or less. Retractors and specialized equipment are used and a fiber-optic light and camera are inserted at the surgical site to guide the procedure.

Patients are up and mobile shortly after waking up from surgery. Hospitalization is usually fairly limited, with some patients being discharged the same day. Others may have to stay overnight for monitoring. Patients will not be allowed to drive after surgery or following hospitalization and will need at-home assistance during the first few days following surgery. If the surgery was done using minimally invasive methods, recovery is quicker. Patients who have undergone an open surgery will be sore longer and have more pain due to tissue trauma. Patients should avoid heavy lifting or other manual work and high-impact exercises for at least two weeks.