Overview and Indications
Laminoplasty is a unique posterior cervical surgery performed for patients with symptomatic, progressive cervical spinal stenosis and myelopathy. It is performed to open and increase the space for the spinal cord and nerves. It is commonly performed when the majority of spinal compression is in the posterior aspect of the spinal cord. The primary advantage of a laminoplasty is that it does not involve placing a large strut graft and fusing multiple spinal levels together, as compared with an anterior cervical corpectomy and fusion. However, laminoplasty is typically not recommended for patients with cervical disc herniation(s), kyphotic deformity or instability.
Most patients are able to go home four to five days after surgery. Before patients go home, physical therapists and occupational therapists work with patients and instruct them on proper techniques of getting in and out of bed and walking independently. Patients are instructed to avoid bending and twisting of the neck in the acute postoperative period (first four to six weeks). Patients can gradually begin to bend and twist their neck after six to eight weeks as the pain subsides and the neck muscles get stronger. Patients are also instructed to avoid heavy lifting in the acute postoperative period (first four to six weeks).
Most patients are placed in a padded, plastic neck brace. This reduces the stress on the neck area and helps decrease pain. It can also be used to improve bone healing by maintaining the neck in a rigid position, especially in the first few weeks and months after surgery.