Laminoplasty is a surgical procedure performed on the spine to create more space within the spinal canal in order to relieve pressure on the spinal cord. This procedure is often used to treat conditions like cervical myelopathy, which is a compression of the spinal cord in the neck region. Laminoplasty is typically performed on the cervical (neck) spine, but it can also be done in the lumbar (lower back) spine.

The procedure involves making an incision in the back of the neck or back, and then lifting and repositioning a section of the vertebral arch called the lamina. This creates more room for the spinal cord and nerves passing through the spinal canal. The lifted lamina is then usually stabilized using various techniques, such as metal plates, screws, or bone grafts, to maintain the newly created space.

Laminoplasty differs from other spinal surgeries like laminectomy or spinal fusion in that it preserves the structural integrity of the vertebral column while still achieving decompression of the spinal cord. In a laminectomy, the entire lamina is removed, while in spinal fusion, adjacent vertebrae are often fused together to stabilize the spine.

Benefits of laminoplasty include:

  • Decompression: Laminoplasty helps to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves, which can alleviate pain, numbness, weakness, and other neurological symptoms.

  • Preservation of Stability: Unlike some other procedures, laminoplasty does not involve removal of bone or fusion of vertebrae, which helps maintain the stability of the spine.

  • Maintaining Natural Alignment: Laminoplasty aims to maintain the natural curvature and alignment of the spine.

  • Potential for Improved Function: By relieving pressure on the spinal cord, laminoplasty can potentially lead to improved neurological function and quality of life.

Laminoplasty is not suitable for all patients and conditions. The decision to undergo this procedure is made after thorough evaluation by a spine specialist, who considers factors such as the patient's specific condition, overall health, and potential benefits and risks of the surgery.

As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with laminoplasty, including infection, bleeding, nerve damage, and failure of the stabilization hardware. Patients should discuss their options and concerns with their healthcare provider to make an informed decision about their treatment.

Spine Physicians Institute treats back pain, neck pain, herniated discs, stenosis and other spine problems. Patients come to the spine center from across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Dr. Sethuraman is one of few Mayo Clinic fellowship-trained spine surgeons in the North Texas area. A fellowship is the highest level of medical education in the U.S.

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