Cervical Laminectomy

Before, During and After Surgery

Cervical Laminectomy

Cervical Laminectomy

Cervical Laminectomy is a surgery in which the Neurosurgeon removes the back part of a vertebra in the neck to expand the space in the spinal canal.

Cervical Laminectomy can treat progressive neurological disorders. This type of surgery is generally chosen when medications, physical therapies, or injections have not been successful or when the patient's symptoms worsen.

Why is it done

Exaggerated bone growth within the spinal canal can compress the free space for the spinal cord and nerves. This can lead to pain, weakness, or stiffness that can spread to the arms or legs.

Laminectomy allows repair of the spinal canal space; however, it does not cure arthritis. It is usually more effective in relieving symptoms caused by pinched nerves than relieving back pain caused by the joints in the spine.

Before Cervical Laminectomy

The Neurosurgeon will review your medical history, ask questions related to your symptoms, lifestyle, medical history, and if you are taking any medications.

The Neurosurgeon may perform various imaging tests to ensure that you can have a cervical laminectomy.

Follow all the instructions of your Neurosurgeon, if you are a smoker, you should stop smoking, you must fast before the cervical laminectomy, do not eat any food or drink for 6 to 8 hours before the procedure.

During Cervical Laminectomy 

The Neurosurgeon will use general anesthesia; the patient will not feel pain. The surgery will take approximately 1 to 3 hours. 

The surgical team will be in charge of monitoring your heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen level during the procedure. When you are unconscious and cannot feel pain:

  • The Neurosurgeon will cut (incision) in the back of the neck. 

  • The skin, muscles, and ligaments are removed. 

  • The bone in the area where the nerve is damaged is removed

  • The Neurosurgeon will remove any small pieces of a disc or other soft tissue

To finish, the Neurosurgeon will put everything in place and close the opening with stitches.

After Cervical Laminectomy 

After the cervical laminectomy, you will be taken to the recovery room where the doctor and nurse staff can control and review your symptoms, and rule out any possible infection. 

Following the instructions of your Neurosurgeon, you may have a speedy recovery.

Your doctor may prescribe medication to relieve pain. In some cases, some people require a short hospital stay, the doctor often recommends physical therapy after a laminectomy to improve strength and flexibility.

Depending on the number of times you lift, walk, and sit at work, you may be able to return to work in a few weeks.

Your doctor will tell you which medications to take and which to avoid before surgery.

¿Am I a candidate for this procedure? 

The Neurosurgeon may suggest a Cervical Laminectomy surgical intervention in the following cases: 

  • Pain from pinched nerves 

  • Cervical stenosis 

  • Progressive neurological problems 

  • Arm or leg weakness or numbness 

  • Treatment with medications or physical therapy does not improve your symptoms

Go to the Neurosurgeon if you have any of the symptoms mentioned or if you detect another abnormal sign. 

When consulting your Neurosurgeon, try to keep a record of your pain with a detailed description of the symptoms, duration, and what you think triggered them. Also, mention any medications you are taking.