Far more common in elderly patients, spinal stenosis is a condition caused by degenerative changes that can result in enlarged facet joints, bone spurs and thickening of the ligaments. Any of these factors can place pressure on nerves, causing pain, numbness and/or coordination issues. For relief, a cervical laminectomy may be indicated.
During a laminectomy, an incision is made in the back of the neck and the neck muscles are gently separated in the natural anatomic planes. The lamina is then removed, allowing the surgeon to see the nerve roots. A small portion of bone and/or disc material around the nerve root is also removed, creating space for the nerve root that is being compressed. The pressure and pain are alleviated, permitting healing to occur.
Patients typically spend one to two days in the hospital. Recovery and return to normal activity often depends greatly on the patient’s age and physical condition prior to surgery. Patients are encouraged to walk immediately after surgery, but bending, lifting and twisting are to be avoided for at least six weeks.