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What is the difference between a Laminotomy, Laminectomy and Discectomy

A Laminectomy is the usual open technique, and we do not often need to perform this when doing these endoscopically assisted laser procedures. With a Laminectomy the entire lamina is removed. We perform an endoscopic Laminotomy. This is essentially the removal of just enough bone to see and free up the nerve root but no more. Hence, we can do the operation with local anesthesia. A Discectomy is performed when the pressure on the nerve root is from the soft disc tissue.

Laminectomy and Discectomy have been used interchangeably in this past for two reasons. First, in order to perform a Discectomy by an open spine technique you need to perform a Laminectomy to get to the disc to perform the Discectomy. Second, the billing code is the same for both procedures because of the need to remove the Lamina to get to the Disc. We do a Laminotomy if there is a bone problem and a Discectomy if the problem is from the disc itself. With these techniques we can perform only the procedure that is required to handle your problem.