Laminectomy in Kansas City


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Understanding the Basics Behind Laminectomy Surgery

Spinal Pain Management
to Reclaim Your Life.

A laminectomy surgery in Kansas City can help patients achieve long-term management of the pain and motor control losses associated with stenosis.

Stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal column or of the small holes where nerve roots exit the spinal column, called foramina. Narrowing of these tubes/holes can occur as a result of injury, but in most cases, it’s a result of the natural aging process. During a laminectomy, we create more space for the spinal cord or nerve roots by removing small sections of bone through a small incision in your back.

A visit to Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance means one-on-one care with some of the top orthopedic practitioners in the country. With multiple locations across the Kansas City metro area, we make finding comprehensive care for back conditions easier than ever.

Before assuming you have any kind of spinal condition, be sure to schedule an appointment with a Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance physician.

We can provide professional insight and a proper diagnosis to understand your treatment options.

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When a patient visits one of our Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance offices, a skilled orthopedic specialist will ask you questions regarding your symptoms, what aggravates/alleviates your symptoms, and whether you have attempted prior therapies.

Next comes a thorough physical exam. We will then review any images you bring with you and/or take new images. After determining the cause of your pain, we can then discuss which spinal injection will work best for your needs.

Spinal cord and nerve root pressure may cause:

  • Pain in the arms and legs
  • Pain when bending forward
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Trouble walking
  • Bowel and bladder function issues
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Your First Appointment

During your initial visit, we will ask you to fill out paperwork detailing your symptoms. You should also bring any X-rays or diagnostic tests you’ve had performed prior to coming to Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance for treatment. Last, we’ll require proof of insurance or form of payment for the provision of the services rendered.

Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance Assessment

Assessing the Condition

Understanding your options for laminectomy surgery in Kansas City starts with an assessment. You can think of spinal compression as a spectrum, with some instances being more severe than others.

The Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance orthopedic specialists always focus on each individual patient and their concerns before creating a treatment plan.

Therefore, during your initial appointment, we will often ask questions such as:

  • Does your pain currently limit you or your activities?
  • Has your pain progressed or worsened recently?
  • Have you noticed any change in your symptoms that has made it more challenging to function?
  • What are your lifestyle goals?
  • How has pain affected those goals?

From there, we can decide whether more conservative treatments will suffice or whether you would find the most benefit with surgery.

Your First Appointment

The Exam


After a proper assessment, we often begin with a physical examination to help determine the origin point of your symptoms. In some cases, we may require advanced testing for a full diagnosis.

Testing options may include:


Also called radiographs, an X-ray captures a picture of the bone. Orthopedic physicians may order an X-ray to rule out the possibility of a fracture (broken bone), osteoarthritis, or other bone-related conditions. For X-rays, our radiology technicians will take the views your physician ordered as part of your office exam.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

MRI captures images of muscles, bones, and tendons to help provide information other tests can’t detail. During an MRI, you will lie on a table that slides into a tube-shaped scanner. The machine creates a magnetic field around you, using pulsed radio waves to form the MRI images. If you require an MRI, Kansas City Orthopedic Institute, one of our orthopedic specialty hospitals, also offers extended hours for scheduling your diagnostic test.

Electromyograms (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies

Our board-certified physicians utilize electromyograms (EMGs) and nerve conduction studies to help determine whether nerves and muscles respond properly to stimuli. The EMG measures the electrical activity of your muscles at rest and in motion. Nerve conduction studies determine how fast and effectively your nerves and muscles receive electrical signals. We will schedule patients needing an EMG or a nerve conduction study for a separate appointment.


Establishing Care

Establishing a Care Plan

Based on the results of your interview, examination, and imaging studies, you can expect a custom care plan catered specifically to you. From there, we outline what you can expect with your laminectomy surgery and how to prepare for your procedure.

The decision to perform a laminectomy rests on several factors. Most importantly, you must have the appropriate indication for spinal surgery. Prior to even considering that spinal surgery, you need to have exhausted all non-operative treatments.

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Prior to surgery, you will typically receive at least two phone calls:

  • A hospital registration representative will call to gather insurance and other personal information.
  • A registered nurse will call to review your health history and medication information.


Dependent on your health history, your physician may require:

  • Pre-surgical laboratory tests
  • X-rays
  • Primary care clearance



Pre-operative instructions will vary depending on your physician and the location of your surgery.

Always check with your physician prior to surgery for his or her specific instructions.

Most physicians require that patients do not eat or drink after midnight prior to surgery.

Additionally, you will need to designate a family member or friend to drive you home on the day we release you from the hospital. Surgical patients cannot drive themselves home.


Day of Surgery

If you schedule your surgery at KCOI, you can expect the following on surgery day:

  • A receptionist will check you in on the second floor at the hospital registration desk.
  • A nurse will take you back and prepare you for surgery. He or she will start an IV, prepare the surgical site, and review your medical history and medications.
  • Your surgeon and anesthesiologist will visit with you prior to your operation.
  • The surgical team will take you to the operation suite for surgery.


What to Expect

A laminectomy, most times, is an elective procedure unless you experience motor weakness or balance and gait coordination issues. Fortunately, it’s a very well tolerated spine surgery and can result in rapid improvement and quality of life.

For a laminectomy procedure, we remove a small section of the vertebrae called the lamina—the bony arch that protrudes from the back of the spine.

We often perform the procedure on the lower back area; however, we also offer laminectomy for the neck or middle back based on the source of your pain.

During laminectomy surgery, you will remain asleep for the duration. Your provider will create a small incision in your lower back, access the spine, and remove the necessary bone (lamina) from the spine. By removing these bony pieces, we take pressure off of the spinal cord or nerve root and symptoms should alleviate.



If performed alone, a laminectomy is a relatively well tolerated spine surgery. Typically, you will spend one or two days in the hospital. In most cases, the recovery process lasts 4 to 6 weeks before your surgeon will clear you for normal activity. 

Once home for recovery, your physician will provide or recommend medications to help control your pain or symptoms.

Your treatment team will also advise you on specific movements to avoid after your laminectomy surgery. After 4 to 6 weeks, you can begin physical therapy to strengthen the surrounding muscles and regain mobility.

In certain instances, we must combine laminectomy surgery with a fusion of the adjacent spinal segments because of instability. This type of procedure normally results in a more prolonged postoperative course.

How It Works

Ongoing Treatment & Continued Care

Physical Therapy

Many patients benefit from a short course of physical therapy following a laminectomy. Your therapist will focus on flexibility, core strength, and functional movements to aid in a full recovery. Pain is usually minimal at this point and patients will learn ways to control any symptoms without the use of medications from their therapist. 

Bone Care

Although a laminectomy can ease your current neck or back pain, it may not always prevent future spine conditions. Taking care of your bones and joints is something you should implement in your daily life. 

Lifestyle changes

We recommend regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and monitoring your blood sugar levels if you’re diabetic. In doing so, you may reduce the amount of stress on your joints to slow down any potential degenerative process. 


Causes for Laminectomy

Since a laminectomy is a surgical procedure, our Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance physicians usually exhaust all conservative measures before recommending surgery.


A laminectomy treats conditions associated with narrowing (stenosis) of the spinal canal or of the foramina where nerve roots exit the spinal canal to supply sensation and motor control to other parts of the body. This narrowing is typically caused by bony overgrowth in the spine that happens as a part of the natural aging process.


When there is narrowing of the spinal canal or foramina, it creates pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots, which often results in pain or some changes in motor control, like balance problems.


Certain Spine Injuries Herniated Disks Conditions that may lead to a laminectomy include: Certain Spine Injuries, Herniated Disks, Spinal Stenosis

Non-Surgical Treatments

You should always see your Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance doctor to discuss your non-surgical options rather than assuming you need a laminectomy. Before considering an invasive procedure, you will need to have exhausted conservative options, including physical therapy, braces, pain-relieving drugs, and interventional physiatry techniques, such as epidural steroid injections.

About Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance

Meet Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance

Our board-certified, fellowship-trained physicians and surgeons are highly experienced in their respective fields and are considered among the top orthopedic providers in the Midwest.

Along with our Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, and support staff, Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance physicians deliver the utmost level of dedicated care across a range of subspecialties.

While diverse in background and capabilities, the common thread that brings all of our team members together is our patient-centered approach.

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Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance is here to help.

Our care is personal. Our team is knowledgeable. And we’re more available than ever.

With access to board-certified specialists across Kansas City, we have the tools to meet almost every musculoskeletal condition.

Use our Symptom Tracker Tool to connect with the right Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance physician for your unique needs—and get back to the things that matter most.

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