Avoid Laminectomy


Minimally Invasive Lamina Preserving Lumbar Decompression

Spinal Stenosis surgery can be performed WITHOUT a laminectomy!  Back and leg pain from spinal stenosis can be relieved WITHOUT a laminectomy!  Dr. Hua has performed hundreds of spinal decompression surgeries over the last decade WITHOUT doing a laminectomy, thus sparing the bones behind the spinal canal that are important for the spinal muscles and ligaments to maintain stability and alignment of the spine. (Laminectomies are required only in emergency situations with spinal infections, severe fractures, or tumors.)

Laminectomy is one of the most common spine surgeries performed by neurosurgeons and orthopedic spine surgeons.  It involves removing the “roof” of the spine which is made up of the lamina and the spinous process.  Laminectomy surgery is successful in the short term because the bone and ligaments around the nerve sac are removed completely. However, in the long term there is a higher risk for POST-LAMINECTOMY SYNDROME. 

When all surgical options have been exhausted and patients are still in pain, surgeons send these patients with POST-LAMINECTOMY SYNDROME to a pain specialist or functional neurosurgeon like Dr. Hua.  Dr. Hua has treated thousands of patients with post-laminectomy syndrome.  Dr. Hua is an expert in both spine surgery AND functional neurosurgery.  He trained with the top neurosurgical pain specialists in the world at Johns Hopkins during residency and functional neurosurgery fellowship.  He also spent that last decade performing over 3000 complex spine surgeries and minimally invasive spine surgeries in some of the busiest hospitals and trauma centers in Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

The only way to avoid POST-LAMINECTOMY SYNDROME is to avoid surgery.  But patients with excruciating pain cannot avoid surgery, so the next best way to minimize POST-LAMINECTOMY SYNDROME is to avoid a laminectomy.  Once the lamina and bone are removed from the spine, the dynamics of spine movement and stability are changed forever.

Lamina Preserving Spinal Decompression

Dr. Sherwin Hua has refined the technique of LAMINA PRESERVING SPINE SURGERY through thousands of surgeries over the last decade.  The alternative to laminectomy is to carefully clear the ligamentous overgrowth and bone spurs pinching the nerves that are causing the pain without removing the lamina and spinous processes.  Some bone is shaved using a precision drill, but the roof of the spine, i.e. the lamina, is preserved.

Using the roof of a car as an analogy, a laminectomy is like removing the roof of a car to make a convertible car.  A convertible drives well, but in certain circumstances like if the car rolls over, the passengers are in danger.  A lamina preserving spinal decompression is like a car with a sun roof or a T-top roof that allows the benefits of openness but can preserve the safety and stability as well. 

The surgical term for this solution is laminotomy or foraminotomy.  It is usually performed for herniated discs, called microdiscectomy.  For central stenosis and spondylosis, it is tedious and time consuming to perform foraminotomies instead of a laminectomy, thus foraminotomy is less commonly performed for spinal stenosis.  Dr. Hua has spent the extra time and effort for every one of his patients with spinal stenosis over the past decade in order to improve both their short term and long term results.  His goal is to reduce and eliminate the need for future surgery as well as the risks of post-laminectomy syndrome.  Amazingly, many lamina preserving surgeries can be done through a single dime sized incision surgery.

​If you are having back or leg pain, visit the Contact Us section for options to discuss your situation with Dr. Hua either as your first evaluation or as a second opinion.  We can even review your MRI scans through the internet or by phone. The phone or online consultation is secure and confidential and can be conducted from the comforts of your home.  If you would like to see Dr. Hua in person, Dr. Hua has offices located in the San Francisco Bay area.

Dime Sized Incision Lamina Preserving Foraminotomy

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