Laminoplasty

With low-risk and advanced surgical procedures like the laminoplasty, doctors at Providence can precisely detect and locate the cause of spinal compression and relieve your back and neck pain.

Your vertebrae surround your spinal cord. The lamina is the section of the vertebrae that acts as a roof above the spinal (vertebral) canal.

Laminoplasty is a surgical procedure that involves the partial removal of the lamina from the cervical spine. Rather than completely removing the lamina, as in a laminectomy, laminoplasty hinges the lamina on one side and slightly rotates it away from the spinal cord to relieve compression.

Often due to bone spurs or herniated disks, the nerve roots of the spinal cord push up against different parts of the spinal column, including laminae. This pressure on the nerve roots and the spinal cord is known as spinal stenosis and causes intense back and neck pain.

By treating the lamina like a door and rotating it slightly to one side, a laminoplasty increases the size of the spinal canal, relieving the source of pressure and compression along the cervical spine. This effectively eliminates the pain caused by spinal stenosis. Its most common use is in severe cases in which the spinal cord is compressed at multiple levels, and along multiple vertebrae.

Laminoplasty is a great alternative to an anterior cervical decompression because it is performed posteriorly and does not involve fusion of the spine. It allows for decompression of the spinal canal while maintaining good stability.

Before the procedure, you will receive an IV for antibiotics, as well as a catheter to control urine. You will be given general anesthesia.

Once your vertebral arch is opened, your surgeon will inspect your cervical spine to ensure all pressure to your spinal canal is relieved. If more than one arch is opened along your spine –often the case for laminoplasty patients – bone graft material secured with metal plates will be placed in the arch opening to keep it from compressing and add support.

After the operation, you will be monitored by your caregiving staff and will be asked to walk as soon as your feel comfortable, in order to ensure the procedure is a success. Most patients leave the hospital within a day, but do have to wear a neck brace or collar for several weeks after the operation.

You will be asked to lie on your stomach as a small incision is made over the correct vertebrae, exposing the lamina.

Using a special bone drill, your surgeon removes a narrow piece of bone in each lamina, creating a small trough. This narrow slit is created on both sides of the vertebrae.

Depending on your specific condition, your surgeon will use one of two techniques for your laminoplasty. The first cuts through one of the lamina troughs completely, and uses the second slit as a hinge to open the vertebral arch (open door technique).  The second uses both lamina slits as hinges and cuts through spinous process, opening the center of vertebral arch to relieve spinal pressure (double door technique).

Because the procedure only removes small fragments of the laminae, patients are often satisfied with their spinal health post-operation. Still, some complications may arise depending on your specific health conditions.

These possible complications include leakage of the spinal fluid, blood clots, and nerve injury. When you partner with Providence for your surgery, you can rest easy knowing your team of board-certified spinal surgeons have the skill and experience to administer a surgery with as minimal a risk as possible.