Laminectomy is an orthopaedic spine operation to remove the portion of the vertebral bone called the lamina. There are many variations of laminectomy. In the most minimal form small skin incisions are made, back muscles are pushed aside rather than cut, and the parts of the vertebra adjacent to the lamina are left intact.
The traditional form of laminectomy (conventional laminectomy) excises much more than just the lamina; the entire posterior backbone is removed, along with overlying ligaments and muscles. The usual recovery period is very different depending on which type of laminectomy has been performed: days in the minimal procedure, and weeks to months with conventional open surgery.