One of the most common spinal conditions affecting the cervical or upper portion of the spine is known as cervical stenosis. This condition occurs when disc or other issues in the spine cause the narrowing of the spinal column or certain openings from which the spinal nerves exit into the body. In order to treat such a condition a procedure like a posterior cervical laminectomy will be used.
What is the Lamina?
The lamina is a flat, arched area of the vertebral roof to the spinal canal. Essentially the covering of the spinal cord and nerves.
What is a Posterior Cervical Laminectomy?
One of the most commonly performed spinal procedures, a posterior cervical laminectomy is performed to remove the lamina, from a posterior approach, in order to provide the spinal cord more room and reduce any compression of the spinal cord.
In general, a Cervical Laminectomy is performed using the following steps:
- Using an incision made in the midpoint of the backside of the neck, we enter using a posterior approach. The spinal area muscles are then elevated in order to gain a better access point.
- Two deep cuts are made at either ends of the lamina, before it connects the facet joints of the vertebrae. And it can be removed in one piece.
- Once the lamina is removed, the spinal cord now has more room to move backwards, and is less susceptible to compression.
Benefits of a Posterior Cervical Laminectomy
For the most part, a laminectomy procedure helps patients who were suffering from spinal pain due to excess compress on the spinal cord. Patients can expect:
- Better spinal cord function.
- Improvements to their ability to grasp objects, use their hands, and walk.
- Pain relief
- Less numbness in the hands and other body parts.
The best part of this procedure is that it prevents the spinal cord from getting worse, and myelopathy from developing. In addition, if the procedure is not performed, patients can often lose function in their arms and legs, and experience pain and numbness.
Of course, as with any spinal procedure, there are risk. The most severe risk would likely be damaged motor function and neurological issues, but this is highly improbable. Patients are often closely monitored after the procedure, in order to make sure any severe complications do not occur. Other minor risks include:
- Muscle tears
- Spinal Column Instability
If any of these complications occur, they can be remedied either through additional corrective surgery or other means. For more information on the cervical laminectomy procedure, please contact Dr. Arutyunyan today.