What is Cervical Laminoplasty Surgery?

Category: Spine Surgery | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: January 11, 2016

cervical laminoplasty spine surgery

Many spine surgeries focus on alleviating pressure or decompressing areas of your spine, and a laminoplasty operation is no different. The goal of a laminoplasty is to relieve pressure on the spinal cord. This pressure can be caused by a host of issues, from degenerative changes and arthritis to bone spurs and disc herniations. When the problem occurs in your upper spine and neck, a cervical laminoplasty needs to be performed. Today, we explain who can benefit from the operation, and how it is performed.

Am I A Candidate For A Cervical Laminoplasty?

Anybody who is dealing with spinal cord compression or myelopathy may benefit from a cervical laminoplasty. Your doctor will confirm the compression with an X-ray or an MRI scan. The MRI scan is preferred because it can provide a detailed picture of the spinal cord compression and the soft tissues in the area. Your doctor may recommend non-operative treatment to see how your spinal canal responds before pursuing surgery, but other times surgery is the best way to prevent further damage.

How is a Cervical Laminoplasty Performed?

A cervical laminoplasty is a rather straightforward procedure that is performed with the patient lying on his or her stomach. The patient is given anesthesia and is asleep during the operation. The surgeon begins by making a small incision near the base of your neck. The surgeon then address the lamina, which is the bone that overlays the spinal cord. The lamina is cut on both the left and the right side. This technique creates a “hinge” on one side of the lamina and a small opening on the other side. The lamina is then elevated on the open side, which gives the spinal cord more breathing room. The surgeon then inserts a “spacer,” which can be made of bone, metal or plastic. This spacer acts similar to a door stop, in that it doesn’t allow the door (the lamina) to fully close and compress the spinal cord.

As with any surgery, risks and complications are possible. Cervical laminoplasties have very high success rates, but pain is the most common side effect. Generally your doctor will provide you with some pain medications, but some mild pain is to be expected for the first few days and weeks after surgery. Serious complications, like nerve damage, infection and excessive bleeding are very rare.

So if you are dealing with arm weakness or regionalized pain due to spinal cord compression, consider a consultation with a spine specialist. They can get to the underlying cause of your pain and walk you through your surgical and nonoperative options. Remember, you don’t need to live every day with back and neck pain. Talk to a spine surgeon today.

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