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Cervical Laminoplasty

Cervical Laminoplasty

Cervical laminoplasty is a procedure that relieves pressure on the spinal cord in the vertebrae of the neck. This pressure is known as stenosis, and the process of relieving that pressure is called decompression. This is a posterior procedure, meaning it approaches the spine from the back of the neck.

Why Would I Need a Cervical Laminoplasty?

Cervical stenosis can be caused by a variety of conditions. Pressure on the spinal cord in the neck can be caused by:
  • Cervical disc herniation
  • Bone spurs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Fractures
  • Arthritis
Pressure on the cervical spinal cord can result in the following symptoms:
  • Numbness or weakness in the upper extremities
  • Pain in the neck or upper extremities
  • Difficulty using hands
  • Balance problems
Spinal surgery is typically only an option after non-surgical techniques have failed to improve symptoms. There are a variety of spinal surgeries available; discuss which may best for you with your spinal surgeon.

What is the Procedure Like?

The typical steps of a cervical laminoplasty:
  • Patient lies face-down
  • An incision is made in the back of the neck
  • Tissue and muscle are gently moved to the side
  • Cuts are made on the sides of the vertebral bone that covers the spinal cord (lamina)
  • A portion of the lamina is pulled away from the spinal cord like the opening of a door
  • A spacer is inserted to hold the “door” open, relieving pressure on the spinal cord
  • The tissue is returned to its place and the incision is closed


Each patient’s case will be different depending on many factors. Usually, patients stay in the hospital for 2 – 3 days after surgery. Returning to normal work may take several weeks. Work closely with your spinal surgeon to determine a plan of recovery. Some patients experience an immediate relief of pre-surgery symptoms. Other symptoms may improve gradually.

Risks and Complications

Serious complications are very rare with cervical laminoplasties. Spinal surgeries carry a small risk of infection, nerve damage, blood loss, blood clots and risks associated with anesthesia. Discuss your specific risks and potential complications with your spinal surgeon.
To learn more about cervical laminoplasties or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.