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CERVICAL LAMINOPLASTY

Cervical spinal stenosis is a condition where the diameter of the spinal canal is narrowed often causing pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots. Patients may notice weakness or numbness into the arms or legs. Some patients may also have imbalance and difficulty walking. Spinal stenosis may be caused by either a congenital narrowing of the spinal canal or by spinal arthritis. MRI scans are typically used for diagnosis and can demonstrate the narrowing of the spinal canal. In patients with cervical spinal stenosis, MRI may also reveal disc herniations, bone spurs, and overgrowth of ligament.

Treatment for cervical spinal stenosis depends on several factors including the severity of the patients symptoms, MRI findings and patient's age and medical condition. Carefull neurologic evaluation is also important. In selected patients, surgery to expand the spinal canal and relieve the pressure on the spinal cord and nerves is recommended. Cervical laminoplasty has been shown to be a very effective surgery in appropriate patients with cervical spinal stenosis to relieve symptoms and prevent further neurologic deterioration.

Cervical laminoplasty expands the diameter of the spinal canal decompressing the nerves and spinal cord. This surgery is performed in about two hours. During a cervical laminoplasty, an incision is performed in the back of the neck. The posterior portion of the bony spinal canal, or lamina, are elevated. A portion of the thickened ligament is also removed. The spinal canal diameter is widened, decompressing the spinal cord and nerves. The lamina are then held in the open position using titanium miniplates. Patients are out of bed and walking generally the next day. Following surgery, patients wear a soft cervical collar for six weeks. Hospital stay is approximately 2-3 days.