Surgical Decompression (Laminotomy Or Laminectomy) Specialist

The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles

Brian R. Gantwerker, MD

Neurosurgeon located in Santa Monica, CA & Encino, CA

The pain from a pinched spinal nerve can affect more than your back and neck; it can also travel through your arms and legs. Brian Gantwerker, MD, at The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles is a highly experienced neurosurgeon who has helped many patients find pain relief with minimally invasive decompression surgery. To learn whether decompression can help relieve your pain, call either the Santa Monica or Encino, California, office or book an appointment online.

Surgical Decompression (Laminotomy or Laminectomy) Q & A

When might I need spinal decompression?

Spinal decompression is a surgical procedure to alleviate pain and other symptoms of a pinched nerve. The conditions most likely to cause a compressed nerve are:

  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal) due to a herniated disc
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bone spurs (“osteophytes”)
  • Enlarged facet joints
  • Thickened ligaments
  • Collapsed discs (“degenerative disc disease”)


Since the spinal canal is an open space designed to surround and protect your spinal cord, any condition that intrudes into the canal can compress the nerves.

What symptoms indicate I may be a candidate for decompression?

Compressed nerves most often develop in the lumbar spine (lower back), but they can also appear in the cervical spine (neck).

When the compressed nerve is in your lumbar spine, you experience lower back pain and pain that radiates down your buttocks, leg, and foot. You may also experience numbness, tingling, and weakness in the affected leg.

If your pinched nerve is in your cervical spine, you have similar symptoms in your neck and arms.

You may be a good candidate for decompression surgery if these symptoms do not improve with conservative treatment like physical therapy, if you have a hard time standing or walking, or if your pain significantly affects your quality of life.

Are there different types of decompression surgery?

Several surgical techniques can relieve the pressure by creating more space for the spinal nerves. One of the most common surgeries is a decompressive laminotomy or laminectomy.  By removing a portion of the roof of the spinal canal, more room is given for the nerves to pass unhindered.

How is decompression surgery performed?

Dr. Gantwerker decompresses your spine using minimally invasive surgery, which he does through small incisions rather than the one, long incision used in open surgery. Dr. Gantwerker views the spine with an operating microscope and performs your surgery with specialized tools contained in narrow tubes or potentially an endoscope.

Minimally invasive decompression surgery provides several significant health benefits. It’s less traumatic, so it causes less bleeding and reduces postoperative pain. It also spares your muscles. Dr. Gantwerker gently moves muscles out of the way rather than cutting through them. As a result, your recovery is quicker.

If you suffer the pain of a pinched spinal nerve, call The Craniospinal Center of Los Angeles or book an appointment online.