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At a Glance

  • In order to reduce pressure on nerves in the spinal column, surgeons may perform any of three types of surgeries on the lamina, which are the bony plates at the back side of the spine: laminotomy, laminaplasty and laminectomy.
  • The objective of these surgeries is to reduce or eliminate pain from Spinal Stenosis or a Herniated Intervertebral Disc.
  • Surgeries involving the lamina range in complexity from a small-incision laminotomy using special magnifying glasses, to the more aggressive laminectomy, or removal of the entire lamina.



In a laminotomy, a surgeon accesses the spinal canal through a small opening in the lamina on the back of the spine. This allows the surgeon to remove abnormal tissue, bone spurs or a herniated disc causing pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves.

The surgery has traditionally been performed through a fairly large incision in what’s known as open surgery – an operation that allows a surgeon to see the procedure directly. More recently, however, spine surgeons are performing laminotomies with the aid of operative magnifying glasses called loops.

Depending on the problem(s) being treated, a laminotomy can be performed on one side, both sides and on multiple levels of the spine.

Laminotomy treats Spinal Stenosis and Herniated Intervertebral Disc.



A laminaplasty enlarges the bony spinal canal without removing the lamina. In some ways, it is a re-sculpturing of the undersurface of the lamina, creating more room for the spinal cord and/or spinal nerves. The procedure can produce the same benefits as the Laminotomy or Laminectomy.

Laminaplasties still require an incision, although less tissue is usually disturbed inside the spinal canal. The operation can be technically demanding, so most spine surgeons seek other options before undertaking the procedure.

Laminaplasty treats Spinal Stenosis.



Laminectomy is an aggressive, complex operation in which a surgeon removes the entire lamina. It requires detaching the spinal muscles from the bone, as well as removing certain ligaments connecting adjacent vertebrae.

Laminectomies are performed for very severe cases of spinal stenosis, revision spine surgery, fractures, tumors, massive herniated discs, and other complex problems such as spondylolisthesis.

Sometimes this operation can make the spine unstable if too much bone is removed. These cases require a spinal fusion, in which either natural bone or artificial bone is grafted in order to join together two vertebrae.

A laminectomy is often part of spinal fusion surgery, allowing the surgeon to visualize the entire spinal canal in order to be sure that the required implants and screws are in their proper places.

Laminectomy treats Herniated Intervertebral Disc and Spinal Stenosis.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the advantage of undergoing a laminaplasty procedure?
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