Laminoplasty is a motion-preserving surgery performed to treat spinal disorders that cause spinal cord compression. At the back of the spine, between the facet joints is the lamina; a thin plate of bone that helps to protect the spinal cord. Instead of removing all (laminectomy) or part (laminotomy) of the lamina, during laminoplasty the lamina is scored and opened like a door. Small plates made of metal or bone fix the lamina in the new position (eg, fuses into position).
Spinal stenosis, bone spurs (osteophytes), disc herniation, degenerative changes, or tumors are problems that can compress the spinal cord at one or more levels of the spine. Pressure on the spinal cord can cause myelopathy; spinal cord dysfunction. Symptoms of myelopathy may include generalized weakness, pain, numbness, problems with balance or coordination, difficulty walking, and problems with fine motor skills such as buttoning a shirt.
Depending on the patient’s diagnosis, Dr. Stieber may recommend laminoplasty as a surgical option to remove the pressure off the spinal cord. Laminoplasty may help the spinal cord to heal and cause symptoms to go away.
After surgery, the patient is moved into the recovery area. In recovery, nurses and other members of the medical team closely monitor the patient’s vital signs – pulse, respiration, blood pressure, and pain. Some post-operative pain should be expected and patients receive pain medication either through their IV (intravenous line) or by mouth.
The patient is moved from recovery into a hospital room for a 2 to 3 day stay. A post-operative brace is prescribed for the patient to wear for several weeks. The brace helps to immobilize and support the spine as it heals.