A cervical laminectomy is a procedure that relieves painful pressure on the spinal cord in patients with spinal stenosis. In order to reduce the spinal pressure, a surgeon will carefully remove a small section of bone in the back of the neck (called the lamina). The removal of the lamina opens up more space and enlarges an individual’s spinal canal. As a result, the pressure on an individual’s spinal nerves is returned to normalcy, ultimately decreasing pain and discomfort.
The term “cervical laminectomy” refers to the fact that this procedure is performed on the cervical spine, which is in the neck.
Cervical laminectomy is used to treat patients with spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the open spaces within the spinal canal become narrower, increasing the pressure on the spinal cord. Spine problems like herniated (slipped) discs, injuries, wear-and-tear on the spine, or thickened ligaments are all potential causes of spinal stenosis. Compression of the spinal nerves commonly lead to bowel and bladder complications, disruptions in the way you walk, and deficiencies with fine motor skills in one’s hands.
Whether cervical laminectomy is the right procedure for you depends on your unique situation. It’s best to meet with a specialist to discuss your spine surgery options.
Cervical laminectomy is performed under general anesthesia and with the patient positioned face down. The surgeon begins by making a small incision (about 3 inches) in the middle of the back of the neck. This incision allows full access to the lamina. The surgeon then uses a high-speed burr to remove a rectangular section of bone from the back of the neck cleanly and with a high degree of precision. Once the bone is removed, the spinal canal is immediately opened up and the pressure on the spinal nerves is reduced.
Patients are usually able to get up and walk around one to two hours after their spine surgery. That said, most patients are kept in the hospital for about one to two days so that the surgeon can monitor their recovery.
Upon leaving, most patients will be given a neck collar to keep their neck correctly positioned and supported. They will be unable to drive for 1-2 weeks post-surgery, though every patient is different and recovery time may depend.
Some surgeons will recommend outpatient physical therapy for about four weeks post-surgery for individuals who show muscle weakness. Light work (like gardening) can generally be started four weeks after spinal surgery while intense physical activity can be resumed after two to three months.
At the New Jersey Neck and Back Institute, we are committed to fully understanding your neck and back complications, providing you with a thorough plan of action, and putting you in a place where you will be pain-free for the rest of your life. Dr. Sandro LaRocca, our leading physician and orthopedic surgeon, makes it a priority to listen and discuss the patient’s history and symptoms to ensure that a proper evaluation is given.
Our main goal is providing our clients with superior medical services and procedures to ensure their neck and back conditions are manageable and allow them to live a pain-free life.