What is a

Cervical Laminoplasty

Cervical laminoplasty is performed to treat certain conditions of the spine like spinal cord compression, arthritis, bone spurs, herniated discs, fractures and spinal tumors. Often, this spinal cord compression, or stenosis, can occur in several levels of the cervical spine at the same time. Dysfunction created by spinal cord compression is often referred to as “myelopathy”, a term which describes any neurological deficit involving the spinal cord. Symptoms of Myelopathy include:

  • Pain in the neck
  • Weakening of the extremities
  • Numbness in the arms, which could also affect the hands
  • Loss of motor control in the hands (creating difficulty in holding objects or writing)
  • Imbalance, which can create clumsiness and problems when walking or navigating stairways
  • Loss of control of the bowel or bladder, also sexual dysfunction

Spinal Cord Compression is a serious and potentially disabling condition if left untreated. Cervical Laminoplasty is an proven method for relieving the pressure off of the spine and allowing it to heal, which reverses the symptoms of myelopathy.

About Cervical Laminoplasty

Cervical Laminoplasty utilizes the posterior, or “from the back”, to approach to the spine. The patient will be lying face down on the operating table. During the surgery, a monitor may be used to ensure that no damage is done to the spine during surgery.

The surgeon does not remove bone or the compressive structures, however, the bone is that lies over the spinal cord, the “lamina”, is partially cut on both the left and the right sides. This creates a hinge on one side, and a tiny opening on the opposite side. The lamina is then opened on one side, similar to opening a door. The purpose of this procedure is to create more space by raising the lamina on the open side, giving the spinal cord the opportunity to move away from whatever was causing the compression. Once this is done, the spinal fluid can flow more freely.

Usually, a spacer is placed to hold the spinal canal open, which can resemble a door being held open by a door stop, so surgeons sometimes call this procedure an “open-dpoor” laminoplasty. Another type of laminoplasty is the “French-door” technique, which instead creates hinges on both sides and an opening at the center, creating an appearance similar to that of a French Door.

Unlike a fusion, with a Cervical Laminoplasty, there is no loss of motion in the joints, even when multiple levels are treated.