The lamina is the top or roof of the spines vertebra. A laminectomy (removal of the lamina) is performed to remove pressure on the spinal nerve roots or spinal cord. Usually disc herniation (bulging disc) or stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal) create this painful pressure (See laminectomyLaminectomy photo).

To get a better understanding of the above procedures, here is a brief summary of the spine anatomy. The spine is broken down into three main sections: the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. Each section of the spine contains bones called vertebrae that are connected together by gel like structures called intervertebral disc. There are delicate nerves that run up and down the spine combined with tendons and a group of strong bands called ligaments. The gel-like structures inside the intervertebral disc is called a nucleus. Old age, constant repetition, or a traumatic blow could cause the nucleus material to leak out of the disc or herniate. Once herniation occurs, pain may result because the nucleus material may spill out far enough to reach a nerve. An additional condition that could weaken the spine is called stenosis. Stenosis occurs when excessive bone growth or thickening tissue reduces the size of spinal vertebrae causing the spinal canal to narrow and apply pressure to nerve roots.

Compressed spinal nerves produce varying amounts of pain sometimes felt in the lower back and legs. Numbness and tingling sensations may soon follow a simple task and walking may become a burden.

Tower Orthopaedics specialists may perform a minimally invasive laminectomy to relieve spinal nerve pressure from a herniated disc or stenosis condition. Minimally invasive techniques involve using small instruments through a tiny insertion of the skin to perform spinal surgery. The small instruments usually contain an endoscope which the surgeon can use to illuminate and magnify the operating field through the small incision. Images from the endoscope are projected on to a large screen which gives the surgeon a clear view of the diseased area of the spine. Using small, specialized instruments, the surgeon can remove the lamina (roof of affected vertebra) and bone fragments causing nerve compression.