Tampa Laminectomy (Cervical)

GOALS:

A posterior cervical laminectomy will result in relief of pressure on the spinal cord as a result of cervical stenosis or degenerative disc disease.

A laminectomy is the removal of a small portion of the bone, the lamina over the nerve root and/or disc material from under the nerve root in order to create more space around the nerve root and cord and remove any offending tissue in these areas.

BENEFITS:

This can help relieve neck pain and other nerve-related symptoms that have not responded well to conservative therapy.

One advantage is that posterior cervical decompressions do not always require fusion surgery, thus reducing the time necessary to heal.

The procedure is fairly quick with a quick recovery time.

A laminectomy can relieve pressure from a nerve root or the spinal cord resulting in reduction of neck pain, improvement in muscle weakness, restoration of normal gait patterns and resolution of bladder and bowel problems.

CONDITIONS TREATED:

  • Posterior cervical laminectomy is often done for multilevel spinal cord compression from cervical spinal stenosis
  • Disc herniation
  • Degenerative disc disease and bone spurs
  • Removal of a tumor
  • A laminectomy is only recommended when more-conservative treatments — such as medication and physical therapy — have failed to relieve symptoms or if the symptoms are severe or worsening.

PROCEDURE:

A laminectomy is surgery to remove the lamina — the back part of the vertebra that covers your spinal canal. Also referred to as a decompression surgery, laminectomy enlarges your spinal canal to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.

A laminectomy of the cervical spine is performed through the back of the spine under general anesthesia. Part or all of the lamina bones may be removed on both sides of the spine, along with the spinous process, which are projections from the back of the vertebrae.

The removal of the lamina, thickened ligament, and any bone spurs relieves the pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.

RISKS:

Laminectomy is generally a safe procedure but the risk of potential complications include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infections (about 1% of any elective cases) and may require further surgery to clean it up along with IV antibiotics. It can be generally managed and cured effectively.
  • Blood clots
  • Nerve injury
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leak (1% to 3% of the time). If the dural sac is breached, a cerebrospinal fluid link may occur but will not compromise the outcome of the surgery. Generally if a patient lies flat for 24 hours, the leak will seal.

70% to 80% of patients who have cervical laminectomies show significant improvement in their function (ability to perform normal daily activities) and a reduction in their pain and discomfort.

The recovery time will depend on the extent of your surgery and your general health resulting in:

  • Improved spinal cord function
  • Improvement in their hand function and walking capabilities
  • Less or reduction of numbness/paresthesia/weakness in their upper extremities (if this was extensive over a long period of time prior to the surgery, it may not recover completely)
  • Being able to return to light activity (desk work and light housekeeping) within a few days to a few weeks.
  • Your doctor may not advise a return to full activities involving lifting for two to three months.
  • You should start light walking and physical therapy exercises as per your doctor’s instructions.