A discectomy is a a type of back surgery where a problem disc in the spine is removed to achieve decompression of the spinal
nerves. A partial discectomy removes a smaller amount of material such as disc fragments or the area of the the disc which is bulging or herniated. Discectomy can be either an open or minimally invasive spine surgery procedure depending on the extent of the problem and its location.
Foraminotomy, Laminotomy, and Laminectomy
Conditions such as spinal stenosis, sciatica, arthritis, and cauda equina syndrome may be treated using back surgery to remove bone spurs (osteophytes), hardened tissue, disc herniation, or disc or bone fragments. Foraminotomy, and laminotomy involve small incisions under local anaesthetic (usually) to gain access to the spine and remove small pieces of material that are compressing the spinal nerves. These procedures usually have fairly short recovery times as they involve little trauma to surrounding tissues and carry little risk of destabilizing the spine.
A laminectomy is a more invasive back surgery involving the cutting and removal of the hard ligament or plate (lamina) at the back of the spine to allow the interior of the spinal column to decompress. Traditional, open, laminectomy can take months to recover from due to the extent of the operation. It may also contribute to a destabilizing effect on the spine and require a simultaneous spinal fusion procedure, stiff brace during recovery, or further operations at a later date. Partial laminectomy, laminotomy, or laminoplasty (where the lamina is scored rather than cut, leaving it hinged) may be the preferred option where decompression is achieved without the same degree of structural tissue removal.
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