Article Abstract

Functional outcomes of laminectomy and laminotomy for the surgical management lumbar spine stenosis

Authors: Mark G. Williams, Ahmad M. Wafai, Malcolm D. Podmore


Background: This clinical descriptive study aims to establish if differences exist in functional outcomes, to include both leg and lower back pain (LBP) as well as disability, in patients undergoing laminectomy or laminotomy surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS).
Methods: We conducted a single centre, prospective study of 119 patients undergoing laminectomy or laminotomy surgery for LSS, from 2006 and 2012. Clinical outcomes for back and leg pain were analyses using Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) questionnaires and visual analogue scale (VAS) scores collected preoperatively, at 6 weeks and 1 year. Further analysis subdivided patients into two groups based on initial LBP VAS scores.
Results: Fifty-five percent of patients were females (n=65) and 45% males (n=54), with a mean age of 68.7 years and L4/5 being the level most frequently decompressed. Considering all surgeries, a statistically significant reduction in VAS back pain between pre-op and 6 weeks was seen (4.99 to 3.00, P<0.001). There was a significant (P<0.0001) average reductions in LBP by 1.66 units and leg pain by 3.33 units after 1 year, with minimal difference between laminectomy and laminotomy. In the VAS back ≥5 group, laminectomy patient’s pain increased by 0.63 units between 6 weeks and 1 year whilst laminotomy patients experienced a reduction in back pain of 0.51 units (P=0.063). ODI scores significantly improved for laminectomy and laminotomy by an average of 19.1%, 95% CI: 13.4–24.9% and 10.8%, 95% CI: 5.8–15.7%, with no statistically significant difference between groups.
Conclusions: No statistically significant differences were demonstrated between laminectomy and laminotomy outcomes, for LBP, leg pain or disability in our institute. On the basis of functional outcomes laminectomy remains a feasible approach in the treatment of lumbar spine stenosis. The data presented in this manuscript provides frequency data for subsequent comparative studies.