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laminectomy recovery

Posted by @bobford in Bones, Joints & Muscles, Dec 27, 2011

looking for feedback to lenghth of recovery from a laminectomy?

Tags: spinal stenosis


Posted by @karenfinnestad, Jan 15, 2012

Hi, Bob
Don''t know if my situation applies, but back in 2002 at the age of 50, I herniated a disk (L5S1) in my lower lumbar region of my back, causing excruiating leg pain (left ) ,which I shall never forget. I had a de-compression laminectomy performed which immediately took away the pain. The recovery was a "piece of cake," however, within a couple of months, I re-herniated the same disk. This time I opted for a spinal injection which was done as an out patient and it took about 30 min or so. The second time I herniated the disk my pain level was only at about a 4, so not awful but just enough to keep me awake some nights so wanted to try the injection. I don't think I would go the route of surgery again without at least trying the injection. I guess you can have up to 3 per year. I never had to go for another one. My daugher is an RN and didn't want to tell me at the time I was going in for surgery, that there's no such thing in her opinion, and what her experience as a nurse has told her, as one back surgery. Good luck, hope this helps.


Posted by @bobford, Jan 15, 2012

Hi Karen...My Laminectomy took place on Jan4....I had tried almost everything else prior to my decision.As in your case the pain was always in my legs.It was identified as spinal stenosis.Common in the aging process.
The recovery is coming along,however I'm experiencing a great deal of "shakiness" in my hands???? The pain in my legs has subsided considerably...
Wondering if my shakiness could be caused by the anesthesia??I'm told I should be looking at a three month recovery!! Don't like that!!
Thank you for kind response!! Bob


Posted by @karenfinnestad, Jan 15, 2012

Hi, Bob
I did not experience any hand shakiness at all. Hopefully, your surgeon or family Dr. can offer some information regarding that. I would think there could be some residual effects from the anesthesia, especially if it was a long surgery, but certainly no expert concerning that. I'm glad that at least the pain in the legs is getting better. The only thing that touched the pain for me was Oxycontin, a derivitive of morphine. I made, what was later found to be a huge mistake, which was that I went to a chiropractor for the leg pain and by the 3rd treatment, I was literally dragging my left leg into his office. It was only then, that the chiropractor said I should have an MRI done. By the many manipulations that he performed on my back, the sciatic nerve had become badly impinged so the pain was probably much worse than it would have been if I had not had the chiropractor work on me. Lesson learned. Know what your're dealing with before going to a chiropractor for something like that. You're only 11 days post-op, Bob, and I'm sure Doctors always want to figure worst case scenerio so a person doesn't become discouraged. In any case., I bet you'll be" hale and hardy" by the time spring rolls around to enjoy the nice weather! Good luck as you continue to recuperate. Karen


Posted by @kelseydm, Wed, May 25 at 8:47am CDT

Hi all! I'm re-animating this discussion as several members have been asking about and sharing their experiences with laminectomy, also known as decompression surgery. Here's some basic info from Mayo Clinic:

@robertlclark, @ladyjane85, @twokitties, @stumpy, @pamperthyself, @sharonmay7 and @dbentley will you join me on this thread? Any experiences or questions you want to share with the group?


Posted by @robertlclark, Wed, May 25 at 12:14pm CDT

Hi Kelsey, I would like to post on the lumbar laminectomy site but I get a "Page not found" message trying to go to that link.


Posted by @kelseydm, Wed, May 25 at 1:02pm CDT

@robertlclark Hmm, that's weird. The link is working for me... let's try it again: Also, just to clarify, the link just has some basic info on laminectomy from Mayo Clinic. If you want to post about it and discuss, right here is the place to do that.


Posted by @robertlclark, Wed, May 25 at 1:59pm CDT

Hi everyone. I'm new here but wanted to say hello and share some of my lumbar laminectomy experience. For the last 8 years I have had peripheral neuropathy in my buttocks and lower legs/feet. I had two lumbar laminectomies with some relief. My buttocks pain went away but I still have neuropathy in my left foot and lower leg. I take Gabapentin at 900 mg daily. And I occasionally take Tramadol when I have flare up of pain. My pain is stronger when I stand or walk. I tolerate the pain but wish I could get totally pain free. I wonder if others has found other pain relief solutions. I'm also wondering if Gabapentin at 900 mg daily should be increased? Any thoughts?


Posted by @elizamail, Wed, May 25 at 5:38pm CDT

On 10/3/2016 I had a laminectomy (l5/S1) after trying to decrease pain for approx. 40 years. Originally the pain went down my leg but I found exercises to take it out of my leg. (the main exercise that helped was hanging by the ankles on an exercise board).
The pain got so bad approx. 6 years ago I had to ride a mobility scooter from the bed to the kitchen. I found exercises to help me walk again, but still in a lot of pain. I finally had THE OPERATION. The doctor replaced the disc with a frame, and he injected bone from the bone bank into the frame and protein to try and harden up the frame. The first cut was from the front to take the disc out and then attach a titanium brace to the two vertebrae. But I had to be opened either side of the backbone from the back to cut out calcification. One of the back wounds was still seeping when I left hospital. I found this neglectful when they took the cover off the wound and let me go home. Since then I have been talking to a Dr friend and they said that seeping is a sign of infection. (I didn't know that at the time). On arriving home after the operation 18 days after, (9 days of re-hab) I was only home one night and had to be taken back to hospital with an infection in the would. The night before the second operation I was having difficulty getting enough oxygen to even talk. The nurse heard me trying to talk to a friend on the phone, took the [phone off me and gave me oxygen. This apparently was not reported to the doctor. With the second operation to take out the infection, my lungs filled up with fluid, I died and they put me in a coma. I woke up the next day - very very weak. Since arriving home I cannot lie down without pain, and from what I have been told (not by the doctor - by friends) it will take 12 months to get over it. I will have to go to physio for approx. 6 months.

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Posted by @colleenyoung, Thu, May 26 at 9:02am CDT

Welcome @elizamail.
I moved your message to this thread to introduce you to others who have had a laminetomy. Please also meet @robertlclark, @ladyjane85, @twokitties, @stumpy, @pamperthyself, @sharonmay7 and @dbentley.

Eliza, your story sounds particularly traumatic. How long were you in hospital and when did you arrive home?


Posted by @twokitties, Thu, May 26 at 9:37pm CDT

Oh my gosh! I just read elizamail's post. I am about to have surgery for laminectomy, open decompression & possible fusion - L3,L4,L5. I think I need to stop reading all these posts or cancel my surgery. Are there people with success stories. In my research, reports say 80 - 90% relief from pain.

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