The Spine

Cervical Laminectomy

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Cervical Laminectomy

A cervical laminectomy is a spine surgery that involves removing bone to relieve excess pressure on the spinal nerve(s) in the cervical spine, or neck. A cervical laminectomy can be performed to relieve the symptoms of spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal canal.

What Is A Cervical Laminectomy?

The term laminectomy is derived from the Latin wordslamina (thin plate, sheet or layer), and -ectomy (removal). A laminectomy removes or “trims” the lamina (roof) of the vertebrae to create space for the nerves leaving the spine.

Why Do I Need This Procedure?

Spinal stenosis is a condition caused by a gradual narrowing of the spinal canal. This narrowing happens as a result of the degeneration of both the facet joints and the intervertebral discs. The facet joints also enlarge as they become arthritic, which contributes to a decrease in the space available for the nerve roots. Bone spurs, called osteophytes also can form and grow into the spinal canal.

Cervical Laminectomy

These processes narrow the spinal canal and may begin to impinge upon and place pressure on the nerves roots and spinal cord, resulting in such symptoms as:

  • Neck pain
  • Pain that radiates into the shoulders, arms and/or hands
  • Numbness, tingling and muscle weakness in the neck and/or upper extremeties
  • Bowel and/or bladder impairment

The goal of a cervical laminectomy is to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves by removing the part of the lamina that is the source of the pressure.

To determine whether your condition requires treatment with a cervical laminectomy, your doctor will examine your back and your medical history, and may order an X-ray,computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of your spine. A surgical procedure such as a cervical laminectomy is typically recommended after non-surgical treatment options, such as medication, rest and physical therapy, fail to relieve symptoms after a reasonable length of time.

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