Postlaminectomy Syndrome

WHAT IS POST-LAMINECTOMY SYNDROME?

Post-laminectomy is where surgery to the back results in back and/or leg pain. Laminectory is a surgery for removing the protective vertebra around the spinal cord. Usually, the surgery is performed to alleviate pressure on the spinal cord caused by a bulging disc from the said vertebra. In most cases, patients experience minimal complications after the procedure, but some patients experience persistent pain.

WHAT CAUSES POST-LAMINECTOMY SYNDROME?

Pain in the back after laminectomy could be an indication that the surgery wasn’t required or it didn’t have the desired effect. There is also the possibility of a fragment of the disc that was removed remaining. It can cause irritation in the spinal cord, leading to pain. Patients who smoke are likely to develop post-laminectomy syndrome.

One of the most significant issues that may occur after a laminectomy is scar tissue formation around nerve roots. This may lead to persistent back and leg pain and is the major cause for postlaminectomy syndrome.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF POST-LAMINECTOMY SYNDROME?

The most common symptom of this condition is pain in the back in the area where the surgery was performed and down the leg on that side or both sides. This pain is often accompanied by back pain, limiting the range of motion for patients and keeping them from performing routine tasks without discomfort. Chronic pain can also lead to anxiety and depression. A change in posture and walking style may also occur as the patient subconsciously attempts to alleviate the pain.

HOW IS POST-LAMINECTOMY SYNDROME TREATED?

The treatment for post-laminectomy syndrome depends on the intensity of the condition and the cause. In light of this, mentioned below are some treatments for post-laminectomy pain:

Medications: General painkillers or stronger medications, steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs can help with reducing the pain significantly.

Interventional Treatments: These involve epidural steroid injections, pain-relief injections for numbing affected region, facet block and trigger point injections.

Spinal Cord Stimulation: This procedure is a last resort treatment option when all else does not help with the pain. Spinal cord stimulation basically involves manipulating your brain’s pain signals, altering them to perceive pain as a tingling sensation rather than being agonizing.