Nerve compression can lead to a host of unpleasant symptoms as a result of the nerve’s ability to function is impaired. This pressure can be caused by tumors, degradation of the intervertebral discs, and medical conditions such as spinal stenosis. A cervical laminectomy is a procedure that removes the ‘lamina,’ or roof, of the bones of the vertebrae to provide sufficient room for the nerves to leave the spine.
When Is A Cervical Laminectomy Required?
When the intervertebral discs or facet joints break down or degenerate, they cause the spinal canal to narrow. The facet joints also experience thickening due to their arthritic state, causing the space available for nerve roots to shrink. In some cases, there will be bone osteophytes, also known as bone spurs, that grow and impact the amount of space available in the spinal cord. All of these elements can contribute to the condition known as spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the canal that can result in undue pressure being applied to the nerves.
Spinal stenosis symptoms include:
- Neck Pain
- Weakness in the hands, arms, and shoulders
- Impairment of the function of the bowel and bladder
The end goal of a cervical laminectomy is to reduce the pressure caused by spinal stenosis by creating additional room for the impacted nerves. This is accomplished through the removal of the lamina responsible for that pressure. Your need for this procedure is determined through a series of tests performed by Dr. Czerwein. These tests include MRI scans, CT Scans, and X-rays. Prior to this procedure being recommended, a standard set of non-invasive treatment methods will be tried, leaving surgery as a last resort.
What Should I Expect From This Procedure?
The procedure will begin with you lying on your stomach, after which general anesthesia will be administered. This form of anesthesia will render you completely unconscious for the procedure. Following this, Dr. Czerwein will make a small cut, known as an incision, near the midline of your neck on the posterior (back) side. The soft tissues and muscles there will be gently moved out of the way to grant access to the cervical vertebrae (your neck bones). Once this is accomplished, he will remove the necessary amount of lamina to relieve any compression. Bone spurs, fragments of degraded discs, and more will be removed during this portion of the procedure.
What Will Recovery From My Cervical Laminectomy Be Like?
The specifics of your recovery process will be discussed with you by Dr. Czerwein prior to the procedure. The goal will be to return you to normal activity as soon as possible. Most patients will experience some degree of hospital stay, with their symptoms improving gradually over time. The day after your surgery, you will be able to walk normally. How soon you’re able to return to work is dependent on the nature of the surgery, your speed of healing, and the type of work you do.
Contact Dr. John Czerwein today to schedule your appointment. During your visit, you will be assessed for treatment options following an examination of your medical history and discussion of your symptoms. We look forward to seeing you soon!