Laminoplasty

A cervical laminoplasty is a surgical technique that involves reshaping/repositioning bone to remove pressure on the spinal nerve(s) in the neck, increasing the space available for the spinal cord. A laminoplasty differs from a laminectomy in that the lamina is repositioned rather than removed.

The pressure on the spinal cord can be due to a number of different causes including degenerative diseases, bone spurs, arthritis, tumors, disc herniations or fractures. When particularly severe, symptoms called myelopathy can develop. Patients symptoms include numbness, pain, or weakness in the arms or hands, difficulty using their hands, and balance problems. Some can even have extreme difficulty walking or using their hand for everyday tasks. Laminoplasty is the preferred option to remove the pressure, allow the spinal cord to heal and to reverse the symptoms.

The goal of a cervical laminoplasty is to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves by removing the source of the pressure while still maintaining the stability of the posterior elements of the vertebrae. The procedure also is referred to as an “open door laminoplasty” because it involves “hinging” one side of the posterior elements of the vertebrae and cutting the other side so that it forms a “door” which is then opened and held in place with wedges made of bone and instrumentation.