Laminoplasty is a surgical procedure performed to release pressure over the spinal cord and nerve roots. The lamina is a thin plate of bone located between the facet joints of the cervical (neck), thoracic (mid-back), and lumbar (low back) regions of the spine. The lamina protects the spinal canal that contains the spinal cord and its nerve roots.
Laminoplasty can be beneficial in treating cervical spinal stenosis, cervical herniated disc, cervical radiculopathy, degenerative disc disease, lumbar herniated disc, lumbar spinal stenosis, spondylosis, spondylolisthesis, tumor, and infection.
Your doctor will explain the procedure, its risks and benefits, and resolve all your other queries before the surgery. You may require a general health clearance certificate, from a physician, for the surgery. You may also be ordered a few blood tests, X-rays, or other imaging tests to evaluate your medical condition.
The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and X-ray or fluoroscopic guidance. The lamina is completely cut on one side and partially cut on the other which creates a hinge on one side of the lamina, and a small opening on the other. The tips of the spinous processes, projections of bone which can be felt as you rub your fingers along the back of your spine, are removed to create room for removal of the lamina. This releases the pressure over the spinal cord and the nerves. A wedge, made out of bone or metal, is used to hold the lamina in position during the healing process. An intraoperative X-ray is taken to check the positioning of the wedge.
Following the surgery, you will be shifted to a recovery room and the vital signs are closely monitored by the medical staff. You may experience slight discomfort, pain at the incision site, neck or back muscle spasms, or other related symptoms after the surgery. Depending on the type of surgery, a cervical or lumbar brace is recommended to offer stability and support during the healing process.
The incision area should be kept clean and dry. You should refrain from hot tubs, swimming, heavy lifting, driving, and smoking. You can begin doing physical therapy as directed by your doctor. Take medications as prescribed by your doctor. Also arrange a follow-up appointment with your doctor.
The possible risks associated with laminoplasty surgery may include infection, bleeding, problems with anesthesia, and nerve injury.
You must inform your doctor if the incision site shows signs of infection such as pain, redness, swelling, or alteration in the quantity or smell of the drainage, or if you develop fever over 101° F. Also inform your doctor if you develop bowel and bladder dysfunction or numbness over the genital area.