Microlaminoforaminotomy is a keyhole, minimally invasive spine surgery technique, meaning that patients often have a simple local anaesthetic rather than a general anaesthetic. This means that after surgery the patient is mobile much quicker and begins to feel the benefits of the surgery at an impressive speed. The first such noticeable effect is a dramatic reduction in arm pain or radicular pain. The extent and duration of the nerve compression prior to surgery will affect the rapidity of recovery felt, and if the damage is severe then it may take several weeks for the pain to be alleviated, if ever, as the nerve recovers. Patients may experience a warm, tingling sensation as the nerve recovers its proper function. The return of strength and fine motor skill to the arms and fingers takes a little longer in most cases, but is also very successfully achieved by a microlaminoforaminotomy. Numbness may take a little longer to dissipate.
Walking After Back Surgery
Patients will be encouraged to undertake regular exercise in the form of walking after surgery. Gradually building up to around two fifteen-minute sessions per day at two weeks post-surgery, and then 30-40 minutes twice a day at six weeks is the standard advice. This does not stop patients walking for longer each day, but it is important to remember to stop if any pain is felt and not to overdo things by engaging in aggressive contact sports or high impact exercise too quickly. Patients who have suffered from spinal nerve pain for any length of time are likely to have some muscle weakness in their back and abdomen, making it necessary to return gradually to full activity following the physician’s guidelines.
Caring for the Incision
The sutures used for this procedure are likely to be those that dissolve over time and do not require removal, thereby removing the necessity for a follow-up visit for that reason alone. It is important to keep the area around the incision clean and dry (by patting dry, not rubbing) and to keep any dressing in place and changed regularly according to the surgeon’s advice. Any increase in tenderness around the incision, any redness, swelling, or leaking of fluid should be reported immediately to a physician, as should fever, persistent headache, or stiffness of the neck. These could be signs of a dural tear having occurred unobserved during surgery, although this is highly unlikely with this technique.
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