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Posterior Cervical Laminectomy

Posterior Cervical Laminectomy is a surgical procedure that helps relieve pressure on the spinal cord and swelling in the nerves. Patients who are diagnosed with spinal stenosis often have weakness and even paralysis in their arms and extremities. A laminectomy removes the lamina, or the back of the spinal canal, so that it is no longer pinching the nerves.

Learn what to expect from surgery

With the patient under general anesthesia, the surgeon makes an incision on the back of the neck. Using x-rays to locate the affected vertebrae and any bone spurs, which can also occur with stenosis, the lamina and spurs are removed. In some cases, a cervical fusion may be done to provide stronger support.

Patients who also have a cervical fusion will remain in the hospital for a few days. These patients wear a rigid brace for up to three months to ensure that the graft is fully fused. While activities will be limited, patients are encouraged to walk for exercise. No heavy lifting is allowed for the first six to eight weeks. Most patients also begin physical therapy to help with mobility in the neck a few weeks after surgery. This surgery has a long recovery due to the time it takes for the graft to fuse to the vertebrae.