Laminectomy is surgery to remove the lamina. The lamina is the back part of the vertebra that covers the spinal canal. The procedure opens the area of your spinal canal to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves at the specific level identified. The pressure can be caused by a variety of problems, including bony overgrowths within the spinal canal (known as spinal stenosis) or by a herniated disk. Laminectomy is most commonly performed on the vertebrae in the lumbar spine (lower back) and in the cervical spine (neck). Laminectomy is generally used only when more-conservative treatments — such as medication and physical therapy — have failed to relieve symptoms. Laminectomy also may be recommended if symptoms are severe or worsening dramatically.