Posterior Cervical Laminectomy & Fusion

Overview of Posterior Cervical Laminectomy and Fusion:
  • Indications:
    • Spinal Stenosis: Narrowing of the spinal canal in the cervical spine, causing compression of the spinal cord or nerve roots.
    • Degenerative Disc Disease: Wear and tear on the cervical discs, leading to pain and reduced mobility.
    • Herniated Discs: When a disc in the cervical spine herniates, pressing on the spinal cord or nerve roots.
    • Tumors or Infections: In certain cases, the procedure may be used to address spinal tumors or infections.
  • Preparation:
    • Medical Evaluation: Patients undergo a thorough medical evaluation, including imaging studies (MRI, CT scans) to assess the extent of the cervical spine issue.
    • Discussion with Surgeon: The surgeon explains the procedure, discusses potential risks and benefits, and answers any questions the patient may have.
  • Procedure:
    • Positioning: The patient is positioned face down on the operating table.
    • Anesthesia: General anesthesia is administered to ensure the patient is asleep and pain-free during the procedure.
    • Incision: An incision is made in the back of the neck (posterior approach) to access the cervical spine.
    • Laminectomy: Part of the lamina (the bony arch of the vertebra) is removed to create space for the spinal cord.
    • Facetectomy: In some cases, part of the facet joints may be removed to further decompress the spinal cord.
    • Fusion: The surgeon may use bone graft material and instrumentation (such as screws and rods) to fuse two or more vertebrae together, providing stability.
    • Closure: The incision is closed with sutures or staples.
  • Recovery:
    • Hospital Stay: The length of the hospital stay varies but is typically a few days.
    • Neck Brace: A neck brace or collar may be worn for a specified period to support the neck during the initial healing phase.
    • Physical Therapy: Rehabilitation exercises and physical therapy are gradually introduced to help restore neck strength and mobility.
    • Activity Restrictions: Patients are typically advised to avoid certain activities, such as heavy lifting or strenuous exercise, during the initial recovery period.
  • Follow-up:
    • Postoperative Visits: Patients have follow-up visits with the surgeon to monitor the healing process, address any concerns, and assess fusion progress through imaging studies.
Potential Risks and Considerations:
  • As with any surgical procedure, there are risks, including infection, bleeding, and complications related to anesthesia.
  • Fusion may take several weeks to months, and the success of fusion varies among individuals.
  • Changes in neck motion and biomechanics may occur, particularly at the fused levels.
It’s crucial for patients to have a comprehensive discussion with their healthcare team, including the surgeon, to fully understand the specifics of the procedure, the expected outcomes, and the postoperative care plan. The decision for surgery is individualized based on the patient’s specific condition and symptoms.


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