Type of Surgery
Last updated: 02/17/2009
Pain in the lower back is a chronic condition that has been treated in various ways from the beginnings of human medical practice. The earliest description of disorders affecting the lumbar vertebrae was written in 3000 B.C. by an ancient...
Egyptian surgeon. In the modern world, back pain is responsible for more time lost from work than any other cause except the common cold. Between 10% and 15% of workers' compensation claims are related to chronic pain in the lower back. It is estimated that the direct and indirect costs of back pain to the American economy range between $75 and $80 billion per year.
In the United States, about 13 million people seek medical help each year for the condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 14% of all new visits to primary care doctors are related to problems in the lower back. The CDC estimates that 2.4 million adults in the United States are chronically disabled by back pain, with another 2.4 million temporarily disabled. About 70% of people will experience pain in the lower back at some point in their lifetime; on a yearly basis, one person in every five will have some kind of back pain.
Back pain primarily affects the adult population, most commonly people between the ages of 45 and 64. It is more common among men than women, and more common among Caucasians and Hispanics than among African Americans or Asian Americans.
Laminectomy is a 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.
Select comparative data from 1999 to 2006 include an 11 percent increase in the number of neurosurgeons with full-time academic appointments and a 6 percent increase in the number of female neurosurgeons.
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