Laminectomy is surgery that creates space by removing the lamina — the back part of the vertebra that covers your spinal canal. Also known as decompression surgery, laminectomy enlarges your spinal canal to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. This pressure is most commonly caused by bony overgrowths within the spinal canal, which can occur in people who have arthritis in their spines. Laminectomy is generally used only when more-conservative treatments — such as medication, physical therapy, or injections — have failed to relieve symptoms. Laminectomy may also be recommended if symptoms are severe or worsening dramatically.