A laminoplasty is a surgical procedure performed to create more space in the spinal canal for the spinal cord and nerve roots by removing the source of a compression, such as a bone spur. Performed on the cervical (neck) or lumbar (low back) portions of the spine, a laminoplasty may be done to treat one of the following conditions:
- Cervical spondylotic myelopathy, a spinal cord compression in the neck as the result of natural wear and tear.
- Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the space in the spinal canal which places pressure on the spinal cord
- Spinal tumors, an abnormal growth of tissue on parts of the spine
- Syringomyelia, fluid-filled cyst that forms within the spinal cord
The purpose of surgical treatment is to substantially maximize your overall quality of life. Back doctor Dr. LaRocca might endorse an operative surgery in case of considerable weakness, discomfort or any time all other treatment procedures have already been explored.
What to Expect
During the Procedure
During the procedure, Dr. LaRocca will make an incision in the back of the neck, moving aside muscles and other tissue for a clear window of the spine. The lamina, the protective bony arch covering of the spinal cord, is then cut to allow the vertebrae of the spine to open like a hinged door. This allows for more space within the spinal canal and relieves pressure from the spinal cord and nerve roots. Dr. LaRocca will then remove whatever is causing the compression.
The flap of bone is propped open using small wedges of bone to ensure the spinal canal remains in place. In some instances, screws and small metal implants may be inserted to keep the wedges in position.
After the Procedure
Patients may return home following a one to three-day stay at the hospital and only after they are comfortable walking independently. In addition, a soft collar may be recommended for a period of time.