Laminoplasty is a spinal surgery that may be recommended to individuals who have been diagnosed with severe cases of spinal stenosis. The goal of laminoplasty is to relieve pressure in the spinal canal, and thus relieve the pain, weakness, numbness and tingling that are common in cases of spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis symptoms are caused by a narrowing of the spinal canal that occurs when bone spurs, arthritis, herniated discs and other age-related conditions take up the already limited space in the spinal column and press nerve roots or the spinal cord. When these degenerative conditions first occur, a physician may recommend a combination of physical therapy, medications and injections to stop the pain and discomfort. However, determining the proper treatment approach will depend entirely on the patient and his or her specific diagnosis. If a patient does not find relief through non-surgical treatments, then surgical options like laminoplasty may be explored.
The basic objective of laminoplasty is to open space in the spinal canal by cutting through a part of a vertebra called the lamina. This narrow piece of bone is cut open on one side and partially cut on the other, which allows surgeons to create a flap that can be propped open. This increases the amount of space in the spinal column and releases entrapped nerves.
Laminoplasty is almost always reserved for those patients with severe spinal stenosis, which means the condition has greatly limited a patient’s ability to live a normal life. Your physician may recommend this open back surgery if you have significant nerve damage or if non-surgical spinal stenosis treatments do not reduce your pain. That said, in almost all instances, spinal surgery is considered the treatment of last resort and only recommended when no other approach has delivered acceptable pain relief.
Since it is a traditional open back surgery, laminoplasty comes with its share of risks and complications. After about five hours in surgery, patients will need to be hospitalized for several days, and then will receive inpatient physical therapy for several more days. Patients often experience persistent discomfort and are otherwise incapacitated for months while they heal. As a result, consenting to a surgery of this type can never be taken lightly, even if the individual is in significant pain.
There are other options available for spinal stenosis pain relief that can be scheduled as an alternative to laminoplasty and other invasive open spine surgeries. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that can relieve nerve impingement in the spinal canal, helping you to find relief from neck and back pain. For a review of your MRI or CT scan, and to learn more information about our facilities, contact us today.