Cervical Laminoplasty

What is Cervical Laminoplasty? 

Cervical laminoplasty is a surgical technique that removes pressure from the spinal cord in then neck.  Pressure on the spinal cord can be due to various causes including degenerative changes, arthritis, bone spurs, disc herniations, ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL), tumors, or fractures.  Frequently this spinal cord pressure, called spinal stenosis, can occur at multiple levels of the cervical spine at the same time.  If this pressure is severe enough, symptoms called myelopathy can develop.  Laminoplasty may be an excellent option to remove the pressure, allow the spinal cord to heal, and reverse the symptoms.

Who needs Cervical Laminoplasty? 

Patients with spinal cord compression and myelopathy would likely benefit from evaluation by a North American Spine Society (NASS) physician.  Patients with myelopathy can have various symptoms including numbness, pain, or weakness in the arms or hands, difficulty using their hands, and balance problems. Occasionally, myelopathy can progress to a point where patients have extreme difficulty walking or using their hand for everyday tasks.  A NASS physician can perform a thorough history to evaluate your symptoms and any recent changes.  A full physical examination including neurologic exam would then be performed.  Together, the history and physical provide your NASS physician important information regarding the severity of your spinal disease.  Your NASS physician may also order specialized tests such as X-rays, which show the bones of the spine, or an MRI scan, which shows the soft structures in the spine such as the discs or spinal cord.  The MRI scan can provide very detailed information regarding the amount of compression on the nerves or spinal cord. If there is compression on the spinal cord and the patient has symptoms, the NASS physician may suggest surgery to prevent further damage to the spinal cord.  Fortunately, spinal cord compression and myelopathy can be treated by taking the pressure off of the spinal cord via surgery."