Laminaplasty is a surgical procedure intended to relieve pressure on the spinal cord while maintaining the stabilizing effects of the posterior elements of the vertebrae.
The laminaplasty procedure involves "hinging" one side of the posterior elements of the spine and cutting the other side to form a "door". As seen in the illustrations here, the door is then opened and held in place with wedges.
By relieving pressure on the spinal cord it is the goal of laminaplasty to stop the progression of damage to the spinal cord and allow for as much recovery of function as possible.
A laminoplasty is performed via an incision in the back of the neck which is called a posterior approach. During surgery, you will be lying face down on the operating table. Specialized monitoring devices are used to check the spinal cord during the surgery to ensure that there is no damage to the spinal cord during the surgery. Instead of removing the bone and other compressive structures, the bone overlying the spinal cord (the "lamina") is partially cut on both the right and left sides. This creates a hinge on one side of the lamina and a small opening on the other side. The lamina is then moved into the "open" position by elevating the lamina on the open side. This vastly increases the space available for the spinal cord and takes the pressure off of it. The spinal cord can move away from whatever was compressing it including disc herniations or bone spurs, and the spinal fluid can then flow around the spinal cord more normally. A spacer made out of bone, metal, or plastic, is usually inserted to hold the spinal canal open.
After surgery, patients usually remain in the hospital for 2-3 days. A neck collar is used for several weeks after surgery and can be removed when your NASS surgeon approves. Physical therapy may be prescribed by your NASS physician to strengthen the neck muscles after surgery.
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