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What is laminoplasty?

Laminoplasty

Laminoplasty is the surgical opening of a bony area of the spine called the lamina. There are two lamina on each vertebrae of your spine that form the back wall of your spinal canal. Your spinal cord runs through your spinal canal in the center of your vertebrae. 

Certain conditions of the spine can compress the spinal cord and cause pain. Laminoplasty hinges the lamina open like a door to create more space in your spinal canal without removing the lamina. Laminoplasty can relieve pressure in your spinal canal or on your spinal cord of your neck or back by widening your spinal canal.

Laminoplasty is an alternative to laminectomy. Laminectomy is the removal of all of the lamina. Unlike laminectomy, laminoplasty preserves spinal stability because the lamina is not removed. This may decrease the need for other procedures to stabilize the spine. It also helps maintain movement in your spine.

Laminoplasty is a common but major surgery with serious risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all your treatment choices before having laminoplasty. 

Types of laminoplasty

When laminoplasty involves one vertebra, it is called single level. When it involves more than one vertebra, it is called multilevel.

The types of laminoplasty procedures include:

  • Cervical laminoplasty is the hinging of lamina in the neck area (cervical spine). This is the most common use of laminoplasty. Not all surgeons perform the laminoplasty procedure.
  • Lumbar laminoplasty is the hinging of lamina in the lower back (lumbar spine).
  • Sacral laminoplasty is the hinging of lamina in the back between your pelvic, or hipbones (sacral spine).
  • Thoracic laminoplasty is the hinging of lamina in the middle part of the back (thoracic spine).
  • Other procedures that may be performed

Your doctor may perform other procedures in addition to laminoplasty. These include:

  • Discectomy is the surgical removal of part or all of a spinal disc. A discectomy treats herniated or ruptured spinal discs.
  • Foraminotomy is the widening of the opening where the nerve roots leave the spinal canal. Your doctor may use this procedure when the opening (foramina) is also narrowed causing pressure on the spinal nerves themselves (as opposed to the spinal cord).
  • Spinal fusion is the permanent joining together of two vertebrae using a bone graft. Sometimes, your doctor will also use screws, rods or plates to hold your vertebrae in place. This procedure permanently stops movement between the two vertebrae and limits the motion of your spine. 
Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 12, 2013

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Medical References

Cervical Laminoplasty. North American Spine Society. http://www.knowyourback.org/Pages/Treatments/SurgicalOptions/CervicalLaminoplasty.aspx. Accessed June 14, 2013.
Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy: Surgical Treatment Options. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00539. Accessed June 14, 2013.
Eidelson SG, Fessler RG, Garfin SR, et al. Save Your Aching Back and Neck: A Patient’s Guide. 2nd ed. San Diego, CA: SYA Press and Research Inc.; 2002:76-80. http://www.amazon.com/Save-Your-Aching-Patients-Guide/dp/0966925211. Accessed June 14, 2013.
Laminoplasty. Spine Cal. http://www.spinecal.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=60&Itemid=53. Accessed June 14, 2013.
Laminoplasty. University of Rochester Medical Center. http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/neurosurgery/for-patients/treatments/laminoplasty.cfm. Accessed June 14, 2013.
Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62. http://ccjm.org/content/73/Suppl_1/S62.full.pdf. Accessed June 14, 2013.
Spinal Decompression: Laminectomy and Laminotomy. Mayfield Clinic and Spine Institute. http://www.mayfieldclinic.com/pdf/pe-decompression.pdf. Accessed June 14, 2013.
Steinmetz MP, Resnick DK. Cervical laminoplasty. Spine J. 2006 Nov-Dec;6(6 Suppl):274S-281S. Review. http://neuromonitoring.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/laminoplasty.pdf. Accessed June 14, 2013.

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