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Laminectomy is surgery to remove the lamina — the back part of the vertebra that covers your spinal canal. Also known as decompression surgery, laminectomy enlarges your spinal canal to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.

This pressure can be caused by a variety of problems, including bony overgrowths within the spinal canal (spinal stenosis) or by a herniated disk. Laminectomy is most commonly performed on the vertebrae in the lower back and in the neck.

Laminectomy is generally used only when more-conservative treatments — such as medication and physical therapy — have failed to relieve symptoms. Laminectomy also may be recommended if symptoms are severe or worsening dramatically.

Jul. 07, 2011