A lumbar laminectomy/discectomy is a common surgery to remove fragments of an extruded herniated disc. The image above is a simplification of the procedure:
The surgeon makes an incision through the skin just off the centerline of the spine. The bony area of the vertebra, called the lamina is exposed and a small portion of it is removed (called a laminectomy).
A ligament, called the ligamentum flavum, is reflected back to expose the nerves and the extruded disc material.
The spinal nerve is retracted (moved back) for better exposure of the extruded disc fragments. The fragments are then removed (this is called a discectomy or removal of the damaged disc fragments).
Physical therapy should be prescribed after surgery. While rehabilitation for each individual can differ, treatment usually consists of flexibility exercise, lumbar stabilization/core strengthening, and aerobic exercise. Studies have shown that patients that undergo physical therapy after lumbar discectomy have better outcomes than those that do not receive physical therapy.
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