Orthopaedic Spine Center
450 Broadway St. | MC6342
Redwood City, CA 94063
For Adult Patients: (650) 725-5905

Cervical Spine Surgery:
Laminaplasty

Below are some of the procedures offered by Dr. Cheng to treat cervical spine conditions. Click the links below to learn more about the selected treatment:

Posterior Cervical Laminaplasty is an operation to remove the pressure on the spinal cord and nerves caused by herniated discs and/or bony spurs from arthritis. This surgery involves a 2–3 inch incision on the back (posterior) of your neck. The doctor protects the spinal cord and hinges open the bone in the back of the spine to create more space and relieve pressure on the neural elements.

The purpose of this surgery is to relieve arm/hand pain, numbness, weakness, or lack of coordination and fine motor control caused by pressure on the nerves. The success rate of relieving arm pain is very high.

The surgery typically lasts 1–2 hours, depending on the number of discs operated upon, whether or not previous surgery has been performed, and the severity of pressure on the nerves. Time spent in the hospital is usually a few days.

Video: Laminaplasty
Click below to view a video from our library about this procedure.

Risks of Surgery

Surgery and anesthesia involve stresses to many organs and tissues in the body. Incisions and handling tissues during surgery can result in many problems. The benefits of surgery must be carefully weighed against these risks. Some more common or serious problems are listed here.

Spinal Cord or Nerve Root Injury: Permanent injury to the spinal cord or nerve roots is extremely rare. It is not unusual, however to experience minor temporary tingling, numbness, weakness or pain which resolves over several weeks. All precautions will be taken but rarely, more serious nerve injuries may occur, effecting walking, balance, bowel or bladder functions.

Dural Tear: Leakage of spinal fluid can occur due to a tear in the tissue (called the “dura”) holding the spinal fluid and containing the nerves. On rare occasions additional surgery may be needed.

Infection: Infection is always a post-operative risk and occurs in approximately 1–2% of surgical patients, varying by surgery type. Infections may be superficial or deep into the bone. You are given antibiotics before and after the surgery to help prevent this complication. Please follow the instructions for wound care to help prevent infection.

Other complications: Other possible complications include blood clots, pneumonia and complications related to the general anesthesia.

Activities and Exercise / Rehabilitation

Adequate rehabilitation is crucial for a successful result. Many patients with spinal injuries have suffered from spinal pain for some time. This may result in considerable weakening of the spinal muscles due to lack of exercise, so you should return to your normal activities slowly.

The primary form of rehabilitation after surgery is an aggressive walking program. You should start immediately after discharge, walking more and more each day. In general, we recommend two to three episodes of exercise per day. The average patient can be walking 15 minutes twice a day by their first postoperative visit and 30–40 minutes twice a day by six weeks after surgery. Walk more if you are so inclined!

Expectations

Patients routinely experience a dramatic, remarkable reduction in their arm pain. If the nerve has been irritated for a long time, then a more gradual reduction of the arm pain is to be expected. As the nerve heals, expect tingling or a warm feeling. Depending on how long the symptoms have been present, strength is usually the second symptom to improve. Numbness in your arm / hand is the last to resolve and, if present for long enough prior to surgery, may be permanent. It is not uncommon to have an increase in neck pain from the surgery itself. This pain should subside over the following few weeks after surgery.