What is cervical laminectomy?
Cervical laminectomy is a surgical procedure in which the spinal canal is made larger by removing the spinous process and the lamina in the cervical region of the spine. This reduces neck pain and relieves the pressure on the spinal cord caused by the degenerative changes in the inter-vertebral discs in the cervical region.
How is cervical laminectomy performed?
During the procedure, your surgeon makes an incision in the center, at the back of your neck. The muscles are moved aside, the arteries and nerves in the neck are secured. Once the access to the spine is gained, the lamina of the affected vertebra is removed along with the bone spurs if present. Sometimes, cervical fusion surgery is done along with cervical laminectomy procedure. This is to prevent the risk of developing spinal instability that may lead to pain.
What is cervical fusion?
Cervical fusion is a neurosurgical procedure that is performed to relieve pressure over one or more nerve roots or on the spinal cord. This procedure stabilizes two or more vertebrae by fusing them together. Neck pain is also relieved as there is no more vertebral movement.
How is cervical fusion performed?
During the procedure, your surgeon makes a small incision in front of the neck. The neck muscles are moved aside and the affected inter-vertebral disc is removed. This process is called decompression, which relieves pressure on the nerves and spinal cord. The disc is replaced with a bone graft which will gradually fuse with the vertebrae. The bone graft helps in fusion of the bone. Metal plates or pins may also be placed to help the vertebrae to fuse better. You may need to wear a neck collar for a period of about a month following the surgery so that healing occurs.
What are the associated complications?
As with any surgery, there may be some potential risks that are involved with general anesthesia. Other possible complications include wound infection, bleeding, weakness in the limbs, stiffness in the neck and very occasionally, spine instability.