Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

My surgeon is going to do a laminotomy at C3 to take pressure off my spinal cord. I've been warned there can be some unpleasant effects from this operation. I know the doctor told me what they are but I can't seem to keep them in my mind. Could you please go over this with me again?

Answer:

Laminoplasty is the removal of part of the lamina. The lamina is also known as the vertebral arch. This is the protective circle of bone along the back of the vertebra that goes around the spinal cord. Laminectomy means the entire lamina is removed.

Laminoplasty has become a popular and successful way to treat cervical myelopathy. Cervical myelopathy is any damage or disease of the spinal cord in the neck region. This is usually caused by a herniated disc or narrowing of the spinal canal.

The procedure is usually done by cutting the extensor muscles along the back of the neck and stripping them away from the vertebrae. Part of the lamina (bone around the spinal cord) is cut and removed. This takes the pressure off the nerve tissue.

The muscles are reattached but sometimes there is still a loss of cervical lordosis. This is an decreased curve in the neck. Some patients report muscle weakness in the arms and hands. This appears to be temporary and goes away over time.

Pain in the arms is also possible. The pain may slowly resolve but in a small number of patients, it can become permanent. Other complications that can occur are the usual problems linked with surgery of any kind. This may include infection, poor wound healing, or blood clots. Haku Iizuka, MD, et al. Cervical Malalignment After Laminoplasty: Relationship to Deep Extensor Musculature of the Cervical Spine and Neurological Outcome. In Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. December 2007. Vol. 7. No. 6. Pp. 610-614.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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