What is Posterior Cervical Laminectomy?
As a neck surgeon, Dr. Braxton performs posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion for patients diagnosed with cervical stenosis and other degenerative diseases of the neck. The surgery involves removing the lamina, a component of the spinal anatomy that, when removed, can ameliorate symptoms caused by cervical spinal stenosis. This includes degeneration, nerve obstruction, crowding, compression and pinching.
Removing the lamina restores space for the cervical spinal cord and compression and pinching are alleviated which enables normal cervical nerve function. Patients diagnosed with cervical spinal stenosis can benefit from Dr. Braxton’s posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion.
When to Have Posterior Cervical Laminectomy?
Dr. Braxton works closely with patients with symptoms of cervical spinal stenosis to determine if a posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion are recommended. On its own, the stenosis will not improve and may worsen and evolve to myelopathy which is a more severe condition. Permanent nerve damage is known to occur if cervical stenosis is left untreated. The spinal canal space must be increased surgically to avoid further degeneration and increased symptoms. These symptoms can include:
- Increasing neck pain
- Worsening muscles weakness arm, legs, hands and feet
- Unusual and increasing tingling, burning and numbness sensations
- Abnormal problems with balance and walking
Patients with cervical stenosis may not report symptoms in the early stages but cervical stenosis tends to worsen over time. Exact location of symptoms is an indicator of the nerves that are being compressed. Patients should see Dr. Braxton when symptoms of cervical stenosis begin to appear.
How is a Cervical Laminectomy Performed?
Posterior cervical laminectomy with fusion is performed under general anesthesia and can require a 2-3 day hospital stay. In surgery, the incision is made midline at the back of the neck and the area is prepared for the removal of the lamina. Dr. Braxton’s advanced techniques ensure a comprehensive removal of the cervical spinal components in order to provide the spinal canal the space required to restore the spine nerve to its normal function. The repair is fixed into its new position with a bone graft, plates, screws, and rods.
How Long Does Cervical Fusion Last?
Dr. Braxton’s posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion is a procedure that has excellent results. Cervical fusion is a permanent joining of vertebrae such that there is no movement between them. In time, the two bones fuse into one solid bone. The majority of patients experience a dramatic reduction of symptoms and a lasting decrease in pain level. Dr. Braxton’s patients can expect a lasting benefit from a posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion.
What to Expect After Posterior Cervical Laminectomy?
The severity of cervical spinal stenosis will help dictate the recovery following cervical laminectomy. Most commonly, patients report a decrease in symptoms and an increase in the normal function of the cervical spine. Patients can expect gains in these areas:
- Spinal cord function
- Improvement in walking, coordination, and strength
- Return of muscle strength and function to the hands
- Decrease in hand numbness, burning and tingling
A patient who experiences minor improvement of symptoms is still considered a surgical success. This success is due to eliminating the potential for degeneration and compression on the spinal cord nerve that, if left untreated, can result in permanent nerve damage. Dr. Braxton works closely with patients to monitor post-surgical progress through all stages of recovery such that an optimal result is achieved.