If you have a condition in your neck that puts pressure on your spinal cord or spinal nerves,
your doctor may recommend a cervical laminoplasty.
The spine in your neck, also called the cervical spine, has seven bones called vertebrae.
The front part of each vertebra is called the vertebral body, except for the first vertebra.
Between most vertebrae is a soft cushion of cartilage, called an intervertebral disc.
The back part of each vertebra has a curved section called the vertebral arch.
Except for the first vertebra, each vertebral arch has a bony projection called the spinous process.
On each side of the spinous process is a flat piece of bone called a lamina.
The vertebral arch of the vertebra surrounds and protects your spinal cord,
a column of nervous tissue connecting your brain to other nerves in your body.
Your spinal cord passes through an enclosed space, called the vertebral canal,
which is formed by the vertebral arches of your vertebrae.
Over time, your cervical spine may develop problems such as a bulging disc, or bony growths on your vertebrae, called bone spurs.
These changes can narrow your vertebral canal and put pressure on your spinal cord or the nerves that branch off of it.
The pressure can cause neck pain and stiffness, or pain, numbness, and weakness in your arms or hands.
Before your procedure, an intravenous line, or IV, will be started.
You may be given antibiotics through the IV to decrease your chance of infection.
You will be given general anesthesia to make you unconscious and pain-free during the procedure.
A breathing tube will be inserted through your mouth and down your throat to help you breathe during the operation.
Your surgeon will make an incision on the back of your neck. The laminae of the affected vertebrae will be exposed.
Your surgeon will remove the outer layer of bone from each lamina, forming two troughs.
If your surgeon uses the “open door” technique, he or she will cut the rest of the way through one of the troughs,
and pull open the vertebral arch, using the other trough as a hinge. This relieves the pressure on your spinal cord.
If your surgeon uses the “French door” or “double door” variation on this technique, both troughs will be used as hinges.
This will allow your surgeon to split the spinous process and open your vertebral arch in the middle.
Usually, the vertebral arch will be opened on more than one of your cervical vertebrae.
Bone graft material, along with metal plates attached to it, may be inserted into each vertebral arch to hold it open.
Your surgeon will close your incision with sutures, surgical skin glue, or staples.
Your neck will be placed in a collar to keep it still while your bones heal.
After your procedure, your breathing tube will be removed and you will be taken to the recovery area for monitoring.
You’ll be given pain medication as needed. You will wear your neck collar for several weeks.
You may be released from the hospital within two to three days after your procedure.