Laminectomy for lumbar canal stenosis: a safe and effective treatment

Br J Neurosurg. 2006 Dec;20(6):391-5. doi: 10.1080/02688690601048195.


Lumbar canal stenosis (LCS) is a common condition affecting elderly patients for which a significant number undergo surgery. The validity and safety of simple laminectomy in this condition is not fully understood. Furthermore, the presence of pre-existing spondylolisthesis is controversial with respect to the need for additional spinal stabilization. We prospectively studied a consecutive cohort of 100 patients with clinical and radiological LCS under the care of a single spinal surgeon. Outcome measures (SF-36, visual analogue scores for back and leg symptoms, and the Roland/Morris back pain scores) were assessed preoperatively, 3 months postsurgery and at long-term (median 2 years) follow-up. We have shown a significant improvement in outcome sustained in the long-term with minimal morbidity. Patients with pre-existing spondylolisthesis accounted for 23% of the cohort and, having received identical treatment, showed no significant difference in outcome compared with patients with normal alignment.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laminectomy*
  • Low Back Pain / diagnosis
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Prospective Studies
  • Spinal Stenosis / surgery*
  • Spondylolisthesis / surgery*