Cervical laminoplasty is a treatment option for relieving compression of the spinal cord and spinal nerves. It differs considerably from laminectomy procedures, though both procedures are performed for the same reason. For patients, the result is a reduction in pain and discomfort due to the relief of compression in the spine. For more information about cervical laminoplasty, laminectomy and other treatment options for spinal compression, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health by calling Call407-303-5452.
Symptoms of Spinal Compression
Spinal compression, or stenosis, causes pain and discomfort in the neck, but can also cause pain in the legs. In its advanced stages (if steps are not taken to alleviate the pressure within the spinal canal), stenosis can lead to many other symptoms. These include loss of bladder control, difficulty walking, loss of motor control in the hands and fingers, as well as numbness in the arms and other symptoms. The only way to treat advanced stenosis is to relieve the building pressure in the spine. However, in less advanced cases, physical therapy and mobility training can provide relief from symptoms.
What Is Laminoplasty?
Spinal compression occurs when material presses on the spinal cord and spinal nerves. This material can be bone spurs (bone overgrowth), or it can be disc material from a herniated disc. Laminoplasty is a procedure used to alleviate the compression by expanding the amount of space within the spinal canal surrounding the nerves and spinal cord.
Unlike laminectomies, where the lamina is removed, to create an open “window”, laminoplasty is used to create a door. Rather than being left open fully, though, it is wedged partially open to provide more space within the spinal canal.
In order to achieve this, Dr. Chetan Patel will first cut a hinge in one side of the vertebra’s lamina. On the other side, he will cut a notch. This allows the lamina to “swing” open and provide more space within the spinal canal for the spinal cord, nerves, blood vessels and ligaments. After cutting the hinge and notch, the surgeon will place wedges between the edge of the lamina and the side of the vertebra to keep the door open.
The Contrast with Laminectomy
As mentioned, laminoplasty and laminectomy procedures are done for similar reasons, but differ greatly. Both involve creating more space within the spinal canal by modifying the vertebra’s lamina, but that’s the extent of their similarities. Where a laminoplasty will create a door, with very little material removed and no disturbance within the spinal canal itself, a laminectomy removes a section of the lamina permanently. Through the newly created window, the surgeon is able to remove bone spurs and disc debris. However, because there is a considerable amount more material removed, laminoplasty is the preferred procedure where possible. Not all patients will benefit from it, though, particularly those with significant bone spurs within the spinal canal responsible for stenosis.
For more information about laminoplasty, a laminectomy or other spinal surgery options, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health. Call Call407-303-5452 to make an appointment.