RELIEVING CHRONIC NECK PAIN: POSTERIOR CERVICAL LAMINECTOMY
September 7, 2015 by: Luis Manuel Tumialan MD
Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the open spaces in either the cervical spine (i.e., the spinal cord in the neck) or the lumbar spine (i.e., the spinal nerve roots in the lower back) become compressed. This can result in pressure being placed on the spinal cord as well as the nerves of the spine that extend to the extremities.
Cervical stenosis can result in neck, arm, and leg pain, as well as difficulties with walking and the deterioration of one’s fine motor skills. Often, patients with cervical stenosis may find themselves suddenly unable to walk at a brisk pace or having difficulty tying their shoes. They may also feel as though their legs are extremely heavy.
The most common symptom of cervical stenosis is tingling in the hand. In particularly severe cases of cervical stenosis, patients may experience incontinence and an inability to maintain their balance.
What is posterior cervical laminectomy?
Posterior cervical laminectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that can be performed to relieve the pressure on the cervical spine when more conservative, non-surgical treatments have failed to produce acceptable results. It may also be considered the first line of treatment if a person’s cervical stenosis has progressed so rapidly that the symptoms have become disabling.
The goal of the procedure is to create more room for the nerves of the spinal cord by surgically removing the lamina, or the back side of the spinal canal. By removing the lamina, the procedure simultaneously reduces pressure on the spinal cord and relieves irritation of the spinal nerves.
How is posterior cervical laminectomy performed?
Using special instruments, Dr. Tumialán is able to work through the smallest possible incisions to access the cervical spine. With great care and absolute precision, he moves the neck muscles aside and identifies the vertebrae to be treated. He then strategically removes the lamina from these vertebrae, along with any bone spurs that are discovered.
This procedure requires an exceptionally delicate touch on the part of the surgeon, as meticulous care must be taken not to damage the spinal cord and nerve roots. When performed correctly, patients emerge from their healing and rehabilitation period with:
- Significantly less neck pain
- Less or no tingling in the hands
- Improvement in walking and fine motor skills
- Return of strength to the arms and legs
- Less pain, numbness, and tingling in the arms and legs
Learn More about Posterior Cervical Laminectomy
To learn more about posterior cervical laminectomy, please contact the practice of Dr. Luis Manuel Tumialán today.
If you are struggling with pain, weakness, loss of function, or other symptoms of spinal complications, contact Dr. Tumialán's office today.