A one inch (or longer for extensive stenosis) incision is made in the middle of the back over the effected region of the spine. The muscles over the bone are moved aside until the laminae are visualized. The correct level is then identified again. With the use of a microscope and specialized tools, the laminae are removed and the nerves are decompressed (released so that they are no longer pinched). All the unnecessary bone spurs and thickened ligaments that compress the nerves are also removed. This portion of the case is called a laminectomy and is all that is required in the majority of cases of spinal stenosis. This is a very safe operation which is usually performed in a short period of time (30 minutes to 120 minutes depending of the extent of stenosis) without any significant complications (I will discuss individual complications with you). The overwhelming majority of patients with spinal stenosis experience immediate relief of their symptoms after surgery and are very satisfied.