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Laminectomy versus facetectomy

Patients experiencing chronic neck or back pain as a result of spinal stenosis — the narrowing of the nerve pathways in the spine — may be recommended to undergo a spine surgery if conservative treatment has not offered lasting pain relief. Laminectomy and facetectomy are two of the specific procedures often recommended to treat spinal narrowing by taking pressure off of a compressed spinal nerve.

Before you decide to move forward with a specific procedure or procedures, we recommend you research the full range of options available to you. This can help you have a more accurate picture of the risks and benefits of spine surgery. If you have any questions as you continue to consider treatments, we encourage you to reach out to the caring team at USA Spine Care to receive more information to make the best decision for your spine care needs.

The differences between laminectomy and facetectomy

While these procedures can be combined to treat spinal stenosis, the approach taken during both procedures is different and should be examined when deciding on the type of surgery that is right for you.

  • Laminectomy. A laminectomy is a procedure often recommended for patients with spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the nerve pathways in the spine. Historically, a laminectomy required the complete removal of the lamina — a vertebral bone that helps form the spinal canal. By removing this bone, the spinal cord would be given more room within the spinal canal.
  • Facetectomy. A facetectomy is similar to a laminectomy in that a portion of bone is removed from the spinal column to provide additional room to decompress affected nerves. The difference is that facetectomy involves the partial or complete removal of a damaged facet joint in the spinal column. Since these joints are essential for movement and stability in the spine, additional surgical stabilization may be required.

Traditionally, these procedures have required a highly invasive approach that involves a large incision, overnight hospitalization and a long recovery time. However, advances in medical technology and surgical technique have allowed for the development of minimally invasive spine surgery that can be performed on an outpatient basis.

Alternatives to traditional open back surgery

Before you decide that traditional open back surgery is your best option, you should consider the safer and effective alternatives provided by our team at USA Spine Care.^ Our minimally invasive spine surgery treats spinal stenosis and other spine conditions with muscle-sparing techniques that allow for a less than 1-inch incision.

Since 2005, we’ve helped more than 75,000 patients find lasting relief from chronic neck and back pain with our minimally invasive procedures. Also, we’re proud that we have earned a patient satisfaction score of 96.

For more information, call our dedicated team and ask for your no-cost MRI or CT scan review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.

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