What to Expect After a Lumbar Laminectomy

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A lumbar laminectomy is surgery of the lower back to remove a small piece of bone (called the lamina) for the purpose of relieving pressure that causes pain or other symptoms. Your doctor can provide specifics about what to expect after your surgery, and general guidelines can help you know what to expect, too.

Hospital Stay

Langone Medical Center's website reports that the usual hospital stay for a minimally invasive laminectomy without complications is one to three days. For the first day or so after surgery, you will require assistance to walk. While in the hospital, you may need to wear a brace for support or to wear special socks or boots to help prevent blood clots.

At Home

When you return home, it's important to keep the incision from surgery clean and dry. Also, exercise your legs while in bed to decrease the risk of blood clots. Do not lift anything heavy until your doctor gives you the OK.

Physical Therapy

You will work with a physical therapist to move slowly from walking to other low-impact activities and for exercises to strengthen your back and improve its mobility.

Returning to Work

Your doctor will remove the stitches or staples about two weeks after surgery. According to the Colorado Comprehensive Spine Institute's website, you can usually return to a sedentary job within two weeks after a laminectomy. If you had a complicated surgery or have a more active job, however, it may be up to two or three months before you can return to work.

Caution

Langone Medical Center cautions to call your doctor immediately if you have signs of infection, nausea or vomiting, pain not controlled with the medicines the doctor gave you, chest pain, trouble urinating or having a bowel movement, new numbness or weakness in the hips, groin or legs or joint pain, fatigue, stiffness, rash or other new symptoms.

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