What is the difference between a decompression and a laminectomy?  I am in my 70’s and have spinal stenosis and am not thrilled about the prospect of surgery.  
A laminectomy is a type of decompression surgery.  During a laminectomy, the lamina bone is removed which is typically encroaching on the nerve.  The lamina is a bone that bridges the spinous process (pokey part of your spine) and the transverse process, or the side of the vertebra.  If you are not excited about surgery and have not yet done so, physical therapy can often help to minimize symptoms if not alleviate them completely.