Posterior Cervical Laminotomy is a surgical procedure employed to relieve the symptoms of spinal cord and spinal nerve compression in the neck. Compression of the spinal nerves and spinal cord may occur due to various spinal conditions such as spinal stenosis, herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, spondylosis, spondylolisthesis, tumor or infection. Posterior Cervical Laminotomy involves removal of just a portion of the lamina to release the pressure on the nerves.
The patient is administered general anesthesia and fluoroscopic guidance. An incision is made on the back of the neck at the level of the compression. The muscles and the soft tissues are either cut (as in open approach) or retracted (as in minimally approach) to expose the spine. A part of the lamina (the part of the vertebral arch that forms the roof of the spinal canal) is removed from both the upper and the lower vertebra to create a small window on one side of the spine, just enough to relieve the pressure on the spinal nerve. The bony spurs, thickened ligament and other soft tissue compressing the nerve may also be removed. In case of compression due to a herniated disc, a discectomy is also performed. The muscles and the soft tissue are then repositioned and the incision is closed.
A cervical collar may be recommended by the surgeon to restrict the movement of the operated area and promote healing.
The risks and complications of the surgery may include infection, bleeding, nerve injury, or spinal cord injury. Complications due to general anesthesia may also occur.