Aging and daily stress on the spinal cord, especially in the cervical or neck region, can cause the cord to be squeezed inside the spinal canal. Often, a disc (cushion between spinal vertebrae) can become damaged and begin to herniate (bulge out) or collapse. What ensues is spinal stenosis, or a narrowing of the space between the vertebrae.
Following appropriate diagnostic testing, the surgeon may recommend a cervical laminectomy. Performed through the back of the patient’s neck, the surgeon removes the portion of the bone covering the spinal cord that is damaged and also removes any small pieces of disc and/or bone spurs.
- Patients generally leave the hospital wearing a neck brace and are prescribed a short regimen of outpatient physical therapy.
As with any surgical procedure, there are risks. Patients should carefully discuss their individual medical conditions with their physician before undergoing any spinal surgery.