Laminectomy vs. Corpectomy

When it comes to Laminectomy vs. Corpectomy, there is a clear difference from the indication to undergo the procedure down to how it is performed.

Laminectomy is the surgical removal of bone spurs and tissues associated with arthritis of the spine. Usually, it involves removing a small piece of the back part of the small bones of the spine and enlarging the spinal canal to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.

Meanwhile, Corpectomy is the surgical procedure to remove a vertebral body, usually to decompress the spinal cord. In this surgery, a bone graft is inserted into the space cleared to allow fusion of the bone segments into one long bone.

In this article, we will discuss these procedures in further detail and their differences.

Laminectomy vs. Corpectomy

What is the difference between the two?

Laminectomy is a surgery that creates space by removing bone spurs and tissues associated with arthritis of the spine. It usually only involves removing a small piece of the back part of the small bones of the spine. This procedure usually enlarges the spinal canal to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.

Corpectomy, on the other hand, is a surgical procedure to remove a vertebral body, usually to decompress the spinal cord. When a patient undergoes a corpectomy, a bone graft is inserted into the space vacated, to allow for a fusion of the bone segments into one long bone. This surgery removes an entire vertebra instead of just trimming away some tissue as Laminectomy does.

So how do you know which one you should undergo?

A Laminectomy is usually needed when patients have herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or degenerative disc disease. Usually, it can also be done to remove a tumor that is compressing the spine.

Meanwhile, a corpectomy is needed when there is more extensive damage to the vertebrae such as from a traumatic injury or cancer. They are also done when patients have had prior unsuccessful surgeries to treat their condition.

The bottom line is that your surgeon will recommend the procedure they feel will best treat your specific condition, so keep in touch with reliable specialists like Long Island Neuroscience Specialists.

Difference in Procedure

Laminectomy Procedure

Now that you have an idea of the difference between the two procedures, you should also have an idea of their difference.

A Laminectomy is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. This means you can go home the same day as your surgery. The surgeon will make a small incision in your back and remove the lamina.

And once the lamina is removed, any bone spurs or other tissue that is putting pressure on the spinal cord or nerves will also be removed.

After this, the surgeon will close up the incision with stitches or staples, and you will be taken to a recovery room to monitor any complications. Post-surgery, you can expect to stay in the hospital for several hours after your surgery before being discharged home.

It is important to note that even though a Laminectomy is considered a minimally invasive procedure, it still carries the risk of complications such as infection, bleeding, blood clots, and nerve damage. So make sure to follow proper recovery instructions from your doctor.

Corpectomy Procedure

On the other hand, a corpectomy surgery, as mentioned, is a more invasive procedure than a Laminectomy and is usually performed as an inpatient procedure. This means you will need to stay in the hospital for several days after your surgery.

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When you undergo the operation, the surgeon will make an incision in your back and remove the damaged vertebrae. Once the vertebrae are removed, a bone graft will be placed into the space. The bone graft can be taken from another area of your body or be artificial.

After the bone graft is in place, the doctor will use metal rods, plates, and screws to hold the bone graft in place and fuse the vertebrae. The incision will then be closed with stitches or staples.

As with any surgery like Laminectomy, there is always the risk of complications such as infection, bleeding, blood clots, and nerve damage.

Types of Surgery Procedures (Laminectomy vs. Corpectomy)

Types of Laminectomy

There are different types of Laminectomy, depending on the area of your spine that is affected.

  • Anterior Laminectomy: This type of Laminectomy is done through an incision in the front of your neck or back. The surgeon accesses the spine by going between the muscles.
  • Posterior Laminectomy: This is done through an incision in the back. The surgeon accesses the spine by going between the muscles that run along your spine.
  • Cervical Laminectomy: The doctor will remove a herniated disc or bone spurs in your neck under this procedure.
  • Thoracic Laminectomy: This type of Laminectomy relieves pressure on the spinal cord caused by a tumor, herniated disc, or other spine condition. It may also be done to stabilize the spine after an injury.

Types of Corpectomy

Just like Laminectomy, there are also different types of Corpectomy, depending on the affected area of your spine.

  • Anterior Corpectomy: This type of Corpectomy is done through an incision in the front of your neck or back. The surgeon accesses the spine by going between the muscles.
  • Posterior Corpectomy: A Posterior Corpectomy is done through an incision in the back. The surgeon accesses the spine by going between the muscles that run along your spine.

Aside from what has been mentioned above, we also have what we call Corpectomy and Fusion. This type of surgery is usually done when there is instability in the spine or when there is a need to decompress the spinal cord.

The types of Corpectomy and Fusion include:

  • Lumbar Corpectomy and Fusion: This type of Corpectomy removes a vertebral body in the lower back. Lumbar Cervical Fusion is usually done to decompress the spinal cord or nerves that are being pinched by a herniated disc, tumor, or other spine condition.
  • Cervical Corpectomy and Fusion: This is done to remove a vertebral body in the neck. It may be done to relieve pressure on the spinal cord caused by a herniated disc, tumor, or other spine condition. It may also be done to stabilize the spine after an injury.
  • Anterior Lumbar Interbody Corpectomy and Fusion (ALIF): ALIF is performed through an incision in the front of your low back. The surgeon accesses the spine by going between the muscles.
  • Posterior Lumbar Interbody Corpectomy and Fusion (PLIF): This type of Corpectomy is performed through an incision in your low back. The surgeon accesses the spine by going between the muscles that run along your spine.

FAQs

Q: What is the difference between Laminectomy and Corpectomy?

A: The main difference between Laminectomy and Corpectomy is that Laminectomy only removes the lamina, while Corpectomy involves removing the vertebral body.

Q: How long does it take to recover from Laminectomy or Corpectomy surgery?

A: Recovery time from Laminectomy or Corpectomy surgery will depend on the type of procedure you have had done. It usually takes four to six weeks for most people to recover from this type of surgery.

Q: What are the risks associated with Laminectomy or Corpectomy surgery?

A: As with any surgery, there are always risks, such as infection, bleeding, and blood clots. There is also a risk of nerve damage. 

What is the difference between Laminectomy and Corpectomy?

The main difference between Laminectomy and Corpectomy is that Laminectomy only removes the lamina, while Corpectomy involves removing the vertebral body.

How long does it take to recover from Laminectomy or Corpectomy surgery?

Recovery time from Laminectomy or Corpectomy surgery will depend on the type of procedure you have had done. It usually takes four to six weeks for most people to recover from this type of surgery.

What are the risks associated with Laminectomy or Corpectomy surgery?

As with any surgery, there are always risks, such as infection, bleeding, and blood clots. There is also a risk of nerve damage. 

Conclusion

Laminectomy and Corpectomy are both surgical procedures to remove a vertebral body. And now that you know the main difference between the two, it will be easier for you to understand what you might need in case there are indications that you need to undergo surgery. Remember, your doctor will have the last say on what you will need.

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