What is a Cervical Laminoplasty?
A cervical laminoplasty is a procedure that tilts open some lamina (the bone enclosing the back of the spinal cord), to increase space and decrease the pressure on the spinal cord. It increases the size of the spinal canal removing pressure on the spinal cord and usually reducing the progression of the symptoms.
What causes spinal compression?
In degenerative spinal stenosis, any posterior disc protrusion, bone spurs or osteophytes from the vertebral bodies and facet joints, or buckling or calcification of the spinal ligaments, can compress the spinal cord.
In addition, some people are born with a narrow spinal canal, and they tend to get degenerative spinal stenosis symptoms earlier in life – in their forties and fifties.
What is Myelopathy?
Pressure on the spinal cord can damage it, this is called myelopathy. This causes pain, weakness, tingling or numbness in the arms or legs, can affect the use of your hands, how you walk, your bowel and bladder function. Advanced myelopathy can confine you to a wheelchair.
A cervical laminoplasty may be recommended where you have persisting pain or weakness that has been shown during examination to be due to spinal cord compression which hasn’t responded to conservative, non-surgical treatment.
Where there is bowel or bladder dysfunction, severe muscle weakness or severe pain that is not controlled by strong pain relievers, immediate surgery may be recommended to prevent permanent spinal cord or nerve damage.
The goals of a cervical laminoplasty are to:
- Increase the space for the spinal cord to decrease the pressure on the cord
- Prevent the myelopathy worsening
- Maintain spinal stability, motion and alignment.