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Laminotomy or Anterior Cervical Discectomy? Help please.

MommyO2MMommyO2 Posts: 24
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I have stenosis in my neck with tingling and numbness down my arm. I also have associated weakness in the arm as well. Mine is due to degenerative disc disease. I have been offered surgery as chiropractic, time, meds and 2 foraminal epidural injections have failed. Neurontin helps a bit but I am unable to work while on this medicine. The surgeries offered are posterior laminotomy and anterior discectomy with fusion. I am leaning toward the discectomy as I just expect the disc to degenerate further possibly landing me back in the docs office after a few years. I was wondering if anyone has any useful opinions? Thanks in advance.


  • Lami is the least invasive surgery so if they cant show serious reason to remove the disc the do fusion if it was me i would go with the lami. Fusion is prety invasive and not sure i would be willing to do it if i could avoid it. Many do well with partial removal of the disc thats pressing on the nerve and if they are carefull not to over do it in the future they can many times avoid another surgery . You probaby more likely to need another surgery if they do fuison if it puts so much stress at the next levels .

    Good luck
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • I thought about the lami due to the less invasive nature but the fact that my body would just keep creating these bone spurs leads me to believe that I would just be in again. My disc is actually not really the nerve compression problem. It is the reason for the bone spurs. So the lami would help the pain but not solve the underlying problem. Right?
  • I'm thinking you're correct. If your body keeps creating the bone spurs, the problems could return. Here's hoping your only problem will remain at C5-C6.

    Good Luck!
  • I guess, it all depends on what "caused" your body to create bone spurs. In some cases, if the "irritant" that caused our body to produce osteophytes (bone spurs) is removed, then no, they won't (most likely) return.

    You need to discuss this with your doctor or surgeon to answer that. Some folks get a "lami" and are good for years or better, but again....you need to fully discuss this with your doctor. :)

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
  • I had a fall when I was 6 cracking my skull most probably starting the degenerative process. The "irritant" in my case is the disc condition being at least 50% degenerative. This will only continue to get worse over time and possibly herniate further. Currently the herniation is minimal and not causing pain but is pressing slightly on the cord. My big issue is the stenosis caused by the spurs. I have read that there is about a 50% chance that the spurs will recur in 6-7 yrs. My doc said this is a distinct possibility but there is always the chance they wont. However degeneration always continues. I'm thinking that if I get a lami then I should prepare for another surgery in the future. But if I get a descectomy I may also face problems with other discs. Does anyone know how long after a fusion people tend to see effects on the adjacent discs? Thanks
  • Hello,

    I will speak from my own experience, however, everyone's different. I had my first cervical lami in September 2007, with a double fusion of C5-C6 and C6-C7. Just about exactly three years later around September 2010, I started noticing a tingly, itchy, crawly feeling on the right side of my head around my ear area, and then headaches at rear and to the top of the head, and then further symptoms, etc. I'm having surgery July 25th.

    Of course, again, everyone's different and you could be fine for a number of years. But that's my story....

  • You have definitely been through a lot!! Do you mind me asking what the cause of your problems is? The Surgeon says that the other discs appear healthy for now. I (not a surgeon) think that there is a strong chance this is just from the fall years ago. He on the other hand thinks that I may just have a genetic disposition to have early degeneration. I am looking at a one level fusion so that would definitely put a lot less stress than a 2 level with hardware...I hope. :)
  • Mommy02,

    Like Charlie, for me I had my C5/6 fused, and a year and a month later my C6/7 went = another fusion. 5 months post op, my C7/8 is now going and I have issues internal to my present fusions.

    Some folks do go for years after a fusion without much changing at other levels, others like me, not so long. Since we are all so different, even our surgeons can't give us a solid answer there. Oh, when my C5/6 was done, my C6/7 was in great shape!

    Surgery is such a personal decision, not to mention all the variables. Due to Epidural Lipomastosis (development of fat in the epidural space) it's causing me stenosis at the L5/S1 for example. A laminectomy is normally used to get it out. Since mine is idiopathic on how it formed, I sit here and wonder (much like you), "Will it (fat for me, spurs for you) reform?" "Will I need more surgery for this in the future? How long?"

    I can only suggest that you try and get all the pros and cons so you can have the best picture to look at and decide. Another thought? For the last 8 years or so I've had a moderate to severe osteophyte complex at my C2/3 (about 1-2mm from the cord), and they have pretty well stayed in check. My NS is concerned about them, but for now still watching. So maybe if they take yours out, it will be years and years if ever they become a problem again? Please let us know how it goes, and what you decide.

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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