Perspectives on orthopaedics

A man with back pain after a laminectomy

John PH Stephen



This month, Dr Stephen describes a case of recurrent mechanical back pain occurring 12 months after a laminectomy. Does the presentation suggest a recurrent disc prolapse?

Article Extract


A 45-year-old office worker presents to his general practitioner 12 months after a successful laminectomy (partial discectomy) for a lumbosacral disc prolapse on the left side. The prolapse had been causing sciatica in the distribution of the S1 nerve root.

Since the operation, the patient’s sciatica has almost disappeared, but he still has occasional twinges. However, he has been troubled by recurrent episodes of mechanical back pain, the latest of which is the worst and is still bothering him.