Failed Laminotomy Surgery
Overview of Pain After Partial Removal of Lamina
In the back of the spine is a small bony area, known as the lamina. When a patient struggles with chronic back pain, one of the simplest ways to address the issue is by removing all or part of the lamina. If all of the lamina is removed, it is known as a laminectomy. If only a part of the lamina is removed, it is known as a laminotomy.
For patients with back, neck, and leg pain due to nerve compression of the spine, a laminotomy may be considered as a way to relieve the pressure by opening up space for the nerves to expand. Laminotomies may also be used as part of another surgical technique. For example, when orthopedic surgeons treat disc herniation, they may remove a small part of the lamina to gain access to nerve roots.
What it Means When a Laminotomy Fails
Laminotomies are generally successful procedures. Their primary goal is to treat chronic or severe spine-related pain, such as leg pain, back, pain, neck pain, or hip pain. For most patients, the pain goes away. But some patients may experience pain that is not associated with recovery:
- Pain that develops slowly over time.
- Pain that is severe or chronic.
- Pain that may be in the same or a different location than before surgery.
Some people may experience severe headache only a few days after surgery. Others may have pain that does not appear for almost a year after surgery, but then seems to become worse and worse.
Since the goal of a laminotomy is to reduce pain, then patients that experience any type of severe pain after their laminotomy are said to have a “failed laminotomy.” This blanket term covers all possible causes of pain, even when the surgery itself is considered successful.
Causes of Failed Laminotomy
Failed laminotomy is such a broad term, that it covers all possible reasons for pain after recovery. Some of the possible causes of failed laminotomy include:
- Dural Tears
- Insufficient Nerve Decompression
- Epidural Fibrosis/Scar Tissue
- Poor Treatment Choice or Misdiagnosis
- Infection or Recovery Issues
Because a laminotomy may also be combined with other types of treatments, such as a microdiscectomy, the failure may also not necessarily be with the laminotomy, but rather directly related to the additional procedures.
Treatment for Failed Laminotomy
The proper treatment for a failed laminotomy is based on the cause of the pain. For structural issues, it may be recommended that you consider some type of revision spine surgery. Often when the cause of the pain can be identified on MRIs and CT Scans, a surgeon that specializes in failed back surgery, such as Dr. James L. Chappuis or Dr. Julio Petilon of Spine Center Atlanta, can address the problem and reduce the chronic pain.
Yet the right treatment may also require a more conservative approach, looking for pain management rather than yet another surgery. It simply depends on whether or not there is a clear consensus as to what caused the pain to come back, and the likely success of a follow up treatment.
Here at Spine Center Atlanta, we work extensively with patients that have struggled with failed back surgery, and our team specifically specializes in discovering unique and effective solutions to help eliminate any pain both now and in the future. Nationally recognized, we are a destination for patients seeking experts in revision spine surgery, as well as working with local Georgians.
For more information about Spine Center Atlanta, please call us today at 404-351-5812.