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Stabilize Your Neck and Spine with Laminectomy

Laminectomy is a minimally invasive spine surgery that decompresses the spinal cord and stabilizes the neck. If you’re suffering the neurologic symptoms of nerve compression, such as tingling, weakness and numbness in the arms and hands, and loss of mobility, you might have an underlying condition that’s compressing or damaging the spinal cord and nerve roots. In these situations, the laminectomy procedure alleviates pressure from the nerve roots while stabilizing the neck.

The lamina is the thin plate of bone located at the back of the neck, which essentially makes up the roof of the spinal column. The lamina protects the spinal cord from damage and stabilizes the neck. Laminectomy is a procedure that involves the removal of the lamina to access the underlying nerve roots and spinal cord to address the root cause of nerve compression. Bone grafting materials and various implants might be used to restore spinal stability.

Situations When Laminectomy is Needed

Laminectomy is generally meant for patients with spinal disorders that compress the nerve roots and spinal cord, such as bulging or herniated cervical discs, spondylosis, degenerative disc disease, or spinal stenosis. Age-related wear and tear, injuries, and severe trauma can damage the components of the spine, such as the vertebrae and intervertebral discs, leading to osteophytes and bone spurs that pinch or compress the surrounding nerve roots. Furthermore, the soft, jelly-like nucleus inside the spinal disc may bulge out onto the spinal canal, leading to nerve compression.

When the spinal cord or nerve roots are compressed, you experience shooting pains at various points of the body. If the nerve roots in the cervical region are compressed, you may experience radiating pain on your arms, hands, and fingers. Severe nerve compression may also cause myelopathy, a dysfunction of the spinal cord, leading to numbness, weakness, loss of balance, loss of bladder control, and other severe problems. Laminectomy involves the removal of the lamina to access (and remove) the damaged components of the spinal column, decompressing the nerves.

Dr. Kakoulides only recommends laminectomy after all conservative treatments have been tried or if you’re displaying serious neurologic symptoms. In most cases, Dr. Kakoulides recommends physical therapy, chiropractic care, and injections to alleviate the symptoms of nerve compression. But if you have severe neurologic symptoms, such as the loss of bladder control, instability, inability to move your arms, numbness, and muscle weakness, you may need a minimally invasive laminectomy.

Laminectomy: Benefits

  • Performed as a minimally invasive procedure
  • Only involves one or two small incisions
  • Removes the components responsible for nerve compression
  • Alleviates the symptoms of myelopathy
  • Facilitates natural bone regeneration with bone grafts
  • Stabilizes the neck and spine
  • Involves minimal downtime and recovery period

Laminectomy: Your Journey

Dr. Kakoulides performs the minimally invasive laminectomy procedure under general anesthesia. Once the patient is face down on the operating table, a specialized device holds the patient’s neck in a stable and safe position. The neurosurgeon also uses a nerve monitoring system to ensure there’s no damage to the nerve roots and spinal cord during the procedure, ensuring optimal safety.

Dr. Kakoulides makes a small incision on the middle of the back of the neck and separates the muscles and soft tissues, gaining access to the spine. Using special surgical tools, the surgeon removes the lamina at the roof of the spine. The surgeon places rods, screws, cages, and other medical implants to stabilize the neck, and a bone graft is placed to facilitate natural healing.

Laminectomy: Recovery & Aftercare

Dr. Kakoulides will provide a detailed overview of your recovery and aftercare guidelines after the procedure, including the incision care, medications, activity limitations, and more. Most patients need to stay in the hospital for 2 to 3 days, and you need to wear a cervical brace for a few days to facilitate optimal healing. Dr. Kakoulides will offer you his personal number, so you can stay in constant communication with him throughout the recovery period.