Cervical Laminaplasty

Symptoms

Cervical spinal canal can be narrowed by the formation of bone spurs, arising from the back of the vertebral body or the ligament behind the vertebral bodies. Traditional symptoms include neck pain, shoulder pain, pins and needles, numbness, tingling, or weakness in the arms and hands. More severe symptoms can include loss of balance, stumbling, and a loss of bowel and bladder control.

Treatment

When the spinal cord is compressed, it is important to relieve the pressure to prevent spinal cord damage. A cervical laminaplasty is a posterior (from the back) procedure, where the back of the vertebra is cut relieve pressure on the spinal cord.

In this procedure, a groove is made on one side of the vertebrae creating a “hinge”. The other side of the vertebrae is cut all the way through. The tips of the spinous processes are removed to create room for the bones to pull open like a door. The back of each vertebrae is bent open like a door on its hinge, taking pressure off the spinal cord and nerve roots. Small wedges made of bone are placed in the opened space of the door. Click on the projection below to watch an animation of the surgery.

Recovery

In most cases patients stay in the hospital for 24 hours, and generally do not need a cervical collar. Most patients will notice immediate improvement of their symptoms, however some symptoms may improve gradually. A positive attitude, reasonable expectations contribute to a satisfactory outcome. Most patients discontinue pain medication and resume their regular activities within a few weeks.

Related links:
Animation and explanation of the cervical spine
Cervical cases perfomed by Dr. Robert Pashman
Neck FAQ’s
NeckPainExplained.com