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Lumbar Laminectomy Risks and Success Rate in Portland, Oregon

What Are the Risks of Lumbar Laminectomy?

One of the most common complications of lumbar laminectomy is spinal fluid leak. This occurs in about 1-2% of patients who have never had prior surgery and up to 10% of patients who have had prior surgery. Spinal fluid leaks are repaired but may add 1–2 days to the hospital stay.

Nerve injury producing leg weakness or numbness occurs in less than 1% of cases. Infection occurs in about 1% of cases. Wrong level surgery can occur but chances of this are minimized by Dr. Button’s use of live x-ray during the surgery to locate the proper disc.

Sometimes laminectomy alone cannot adequately relieve pressure on the spinal nerves and patients see less than complete relief and may require a fusion in the future to produce more relief.

What is the Chance of a Successful Outcome from Lumbar Laminectomy?

In general, a lumbar laminectomy is about 85% successful in relieving pain in the buttocks and legs. Pain relief is typically quite rapid, although in specific instances, it may take six to eight weeks for the nerves to calm down. If a nerve has been pinched for a long time, the success rate is rarely 100% as there is usually some residual mild tingling, weakness, or pain, all of which are fairly tolerable.

When Should You Have Surgery?

Our overall advice for this type of surgery is the same for any other spine surgery, which is to live with the pain you are experiencing if you can. The reason for undergoing the operation is that the pain or weakness is making life so uncomfortable or difficult that you are willing to accept the chance of a result that is less that 100% successful.

Dr. Button is very experienced in lumbar laminectomy and if you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss this or other procedures further, click here.

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