What is a cervical laminectomy?


Quick Answer

A cervical laminectomy is a surgical procedure done through the back of the neck to relieve pressure on the spine caused by spinal stenosis, states Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. Spinal stenosis occurs when bone spurs press on the spine or cause the spinal canal to narrow.

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Full Answer

For patients with neck pain caused by spinal stenosis, a laminectomy may be performed to remove bone spurs pressing on the spine and to enlarge the spinal canal, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. In the procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in the posterior neck and back, and then shifts the surrounding muscles and nerves to the side so that he can access the spine. Once the vertebrae are visible, the surgeon identifies the problem areas and removes the lamina and bone spurs from the affected vertebrae. Laminae are the rear areas of the spinal canal that house the spine.

Absent surgical complications, most patients can get out of bed within a few hours after surgery, according to Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. Hospital stays of one night are typical, and patients generally may return to driving within one to two weeks. Recovery of approximately four weeks is standard to return to light work, and potentially two to three months of rest are necessary before returning to heavy work or sports.

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