Posterior Cervical Laminectomy

What Is a Posterior Cervical Laminectomy?

A posterior cervical laminectomy can decompress the spinal cord and alleviate pain due to spinal stenosis. If you have cervical spinal stenosis, your spinal canal has narrowed in the neck region and may compress nerve roots or the spinal cord. This may be the result of degeneration related to aging or other conditions.

These degenerative changes impact the intervertebral discs of the neck spine as well as the joints connecting the vertebra. Most patients with neck pain do not require surgery. However, severe degeneration can compress the spinal cord. To preserve the function of the spinal cord, Dr. Lewis may recommend a posterior cervical laminectomy. During the procedure, Dr. Lewis opens up the spinal canal to enlarge it and reduce pressure on the cord.

How Is a Posterior Cervical Laminectomy Performed?

Dr. Lewis begins the procedure with an incision that opens up the spine. With the help of x-ray technology, he can identify each vertebra and remove the following elements:

  • Lamina
  • Extraneous material
  • Bone spurs

Doing so prevents this material from compressing the spine and nerves. Depending on what he finds, Dr. Lewis may fold back the lamina rather than removing it. To complete the procedure, the doctor sutures the incision.

What to Expect During Recovery

You may need to wear a neck brace during the recovery period. The time it takes to heal depends on your particular procedure and general health. Dr. Lewis and the staff at Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic will go over wound care and how to use the brace, if required. You may also need physical therapy following the posterior cervical laminectomy.

As with any other medical procedure, there is a risk of complications during a cervical laminectomy. Possible complications include the following:

  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Bleeding
  • Spinal damage

Some people have negative reactions to anesthesia, difficulty swallowing, and leakage of the cerebral spinal fluid. In rare cases, the surgery may not improve neck pain caused by cervical spinal stenosis. While most outcomes are positive, each patient must consider the risk before undergoing surgery.

Will You Be Sore After the Surgery?

After undergoing a posterior cervical laminectomy, your neck will probably feel sore and stiff during the healing process. Dr. Lewis typically prescribes pain medication to relieve your discomfort in the weeks following the laminectomy. Ice packs are a good option to reduce inflammation for all surgical procedures including cervical laminectomy.

You may also meet with a physiotherapist to build strength in your neck muscles. Follow the doctor’s instructions and try not to put strain on your neck until you fully recover. This includes wearing a collar brace for neck support.

You can use a hot water bottle or heating pad to reduce stiffness in the area. Avoid contact with the incision if you do use one of these items.

Contact the Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic to find out whether you might benefit from a posterior cervical laminectomy. Call us at (601) 366-1011 today to schedule an appointment. We’ll find a solution that works for you.