A laminectomy is the surgical removal of the lamina of the vertebrae. Most commonly the goal of a laminectomy is to alleviate pain caused by neural impingement that can result from spinal stenosis (usually bony spicules that narrow the canal and press on the spinal nerves).
Reasons a laminectomy is performed:
Smith, Jason, A. 2008. Laminectomy. Retrived July 4, 2009 from http://images.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://www.eastbayspine.com/images/pic-laminectomy2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.eastbayspine.com/laminectomy-procedures-spine-surgery-east-bay-area.html&usg=__KtHdGVkEM-1RxXYhmS2y8hLEF7M=&h=300&w=300&sz=23&hl=en&start=13&um=1&tbnid=nhqoLgGWav9cXM:&tbnh=116&tbnw=116&prev=/images%3Fq%3Ddefine:laminectomy%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1