Cervical Laminoplasty

Cervical laminoplasty is a surgical technique our Houston neurosurgeons use to treat certain spinal conditions. Conditions treated by laminoplasty often include spinal cord compression and spinal tumors. Spinal cord compression often results in spinal cord dysfunction, sometimes called myelopathy.

Symptoms of Spinal Cord Compression (Myelopathy):

  • Neck pain
  • Weakness of the hands, arms, and/or legs
  • Numbness of the hands or arms
  • Loss of fine motor control in the hands, resulting in changes in handwriting, dropping of objects, etc.
  • Balance trouble, trouble going up or down stairs

If untreated, spinal cord compression can often cause someone to become totally and permanently disabled.

Laminoplasty Procedure & Myelopathy Treatment

Cervical laminoplasty involves an approach to the spine coming from the back of the neck. The surgeon strips the muscle off the spinal bones. A part of the bone called the spinous process may be removed. A partial thickness cut may be made through the lamina on one side of the spinal canal during myelopathy treatment. A full thickness cut may be made on the other side. The spinal lamina is then carefully lifted off of the spinal cord, decompressing it. The lamina is prevented from closing back down by a bone spacer which is carefully placed during the myelopathy treatment process. A tiny titanium plate and screws then fix the lamina to the bone spacer and the facet joint. The bones may then fuse back together. The myelopathy treatment technique allows multiple levels to be treated without losing motion of the joints.

Spinal Cord Compression Patient Treatment


The images presented above are of a 58 year old woman with spinal cord compression. She had severe neck pain, weakness of the arms and hands, and was dropping objects. She had numbness in her hands and was noting difficulty with balance. Her symptoms of myelopathy were progressing. The initial MRI showed severe spinal cord compression. (Figures 1 and 2).


She had predominantly posterior vector of disease and had some preserved lordosis. It was elected to perform posterior reconstruction of the spine via laminoplasty. One year later, she was doing wonderfully. Neck pain was resolved and strength was normal. She no longer experienced balance difficulties and the numbness in her hands disappeared. The post-operative CT scan demonstrated successful decompression of the spinal cord and reconstruction of the spinal canal (Figures 3 and 4).

Your neurosurgeon at the Texas Spine and Neurosurgery Center will determine what myelopathy treatment is appropriate or if cervical laminoplasty is appropriate for you. Call today for a consultation – (281) 313-0031.

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