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cervical laminoplasty

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,578
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:24 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hello....FYI, I am a newbie but have been searching through your forum for a couple of weeks and am now ready to ask a question. I have had neck issues for years(nothing severe). For the past 2+ years I have had hand problems (numbness, tingling). The diagnosis was carpul tunnel. About 6 months ago I started having increased hand problems & neck pain along with shoulder, elbow & knee pain-all left side. My PCP sent me for x-rays and with those findings sent me for an MRI on 9/6/08. The findings are: spinal stenosis and cord compression between C4 - C7 due to combination of hypertrophic changes and bulging discs, most marked at C5-C6. Mild cord edema or myelomalacia at C5-C6 left side. Sent to a NS and he recommended a 3 level ACDF C4-C7 and sent me for a CT Scan. Of course this freaked me out...I thought he didn't know what he was talking about. I called my PCP and they made an appointment with a different NS for a 2nd opinion. He said that because of where the osteophites were growing an ACDF would not help my problem and he recommended a 3 level posterior cervical laminoplasty with titanium hinges...he wanted to deal with the compression asap. Has anyone had this procedure? Any info would be very much appreciated. Thank you.


  • I will try and help you best I can. I had the acdf sept 06 and 5 months later had the posterior laminoplasty done. After obtaining all my medical records for social security disabilty I have seen now that the posterior opproach would have been the right surgery to have first. After my surgeon went in the first time he seen things that did not show on the mri, the oseophytes and one was in a postion that was very dangegours to my spinal cord. I think he was just hoping the first surgery would correct it and it did not. My fusion is C4-C7 with a corpectomy done at C5. I hope this helps some.

  • Sharon,
    Thank you for the reply. My NS also said that because of where the osephytes were, an ACDF would not decompress my cord. I'm glad he caught that ahead of time. Can you tell me more about your laminoplasty...ie, how long in the hospital, were you in a lot of pain following surgery, do you still have pain, etc. My NS said that I would be able to return to work 3-4 weeks, maybe sooner...This scares the heck out of me. Again, thank you for the info...I really appreciate it.
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  • I don't know about that short of recovery time. Posterior surgery is not easy. I compare it to the anterior surgery and posterior was a long recovery. 4 weeks after my acdf I was actually feeling good and then new pain started. They cut muscle and a lot of nerves are involved. Most of my post op pain was nerve pain which I still have today. I am now on social security disabilty if they says anything, everyone is different and that happen to be my outcome. That does not mean that you will have that outcome, I have permenant nerve damage from waiting so long to have surgery.

  • Hi Sharon:

    My NS is considering posterior approach as well. He is sending me to another neuro for second opinion before settling on which he is doing. I have a disc impinging on my C-6 nerve root, generalized central canal stenosis, discs bulging C3 thru C7 and bone spurs, one of which is also affectting my C6 nerve root.

    I was diagnosed late June. Now in early Nov they are still diagnosing and deciding. I hope I don't end up with permanent nerve damage and as a consequence on SS Disability. I'm 56 yrs old, Type 2 diabetic, hypertension as well.

    Ken GreyEagle
  • I went for 2 years before seeing a doctor, my pain was mostly arm pain. The accident I was in was 10 years prior, I never felt any effects from the accident, it was just a slow progress over time that led to my neck being in such a mess. I did have the occasional crick in my neck over the years but never thought anything about it. In fact when I went to the doctor I was totally caught off guard, I thought something was wrong with my arm like tennis elbow. It sneaked up on me for sure. I hope this is not your case. I had a myelogram done yesterday, my first, to see what kind of damage is going on right now. I have been suffering from shoulder pain since May and some of the symptoms are pointing back to the neck.

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  • It did take them quite awhile to figure out why I was having arm pain. I've been in pain in my left arm for two years. At first they thought it was tendenitis. I went to therapy for that. Then they thought I might need elbow replacement. I went to therapy for that. I had x-rays and MRI of my elbow. No significant findings on my elbow. Finally I was referred to a spine doctor. She did nerve conduction tests. Shortly after that it was found I have all this cervical spine stuff going on.

    Yeah, I don't know how much damage has occured over this period of time. My pain is getting worse and is occuring on my left arm, shoulder and my neck now too.

    So, we'll see. All I can do is wait now and see what the second opinion neuro says.

  • Due to a fall in Feb 07 and episode of transient quadraplegia that last for several minutes - had c3-c7 laminoplasty in May 07. Spinal canal was extremely narrowed, hyperextension of neck during fall was so close to permanently crippling me, lucky to be typing this. Have had neck problems since childhood, many years of chiropractic treatment, then neurosurgeons and orthopedic visits the past 10-12 years. One orthopedic warned me to never have surgery on my neck due to narrow blood vessel canal on one side of spine - about 6 years ago. Another orthopedic in same spine clinic ended up doing my surgery in 07. Last 10-12 years have had increasing episodes of numbness in hands upon waking up in middle of night, burning, tingling during daytime in left hand predominantly. Since laminoplasty, pinkie and ring finger of left hand are essentially totally numb. Have lost much muscle mass in left hand. Though "numb", pain is sometimes hard to bear, try NOT to take meds for it. Was off work for 3 months after surgery, pain in neck was very bad, slowly regained use of left arm, which I could not lift after the surgery. Have pretty physical job at times. Driving and typing really set off more numbness in left hand and forearm area. Just had carpel tunnel procedure on left hand in mid Oct 08, has not helped. Will be going back to neck surgeon soon to see if possible fusion at 2-3 levels will help. Seems that T8 nerve root on left side is compromised and right side is also a problem if neck position is "wrong". Get numbness on outside of right hand at times as well.

    Did not have much choice in doing surgery, my spinal cord was so "squished" by the narrow canal that I was a very high risk for spinal cord damage.
  • It's quite amazing on how many people are suffering from neck pain. I've been suffering for many years now. Since I worked in a "In-Bound Call Center", I had Tendinitis Surgery on my left wrist, and 2003 Carpal Tunnel Surgery on my right wrist to stop the numbness in my fingers with the pain in my neck. Well the numbness went away in my right hand, but the pain continued on in my neck. I was diagnosed with a pinched nerve 2 yrs ago and the Dr. recommend "Deep Tissue physical Therapy", it worked for a while then the pain returned. Finally I had my MRI done and here are the results for, C3-4, C4-5, c6-7 with severe stenosis, ventral contour of the cervical cord is flattened, severe narrowing, disc protrusion and roots compressed. My right shoulder and arm hurts all the time, sleeping at night is a task. When I asked my doctor about the recovery time, he says either 2 to 4 days in the hospital. But after reading about cutting in the nerve and recovery time, I'm getting a little scared, My surgery is scheduled for 12-10. Any advise or guidance will greatly be appreciated.

  • Hi Shar,

    I had my first surgery on 12/10 after surgery the next morning the surgeons came in and ask me to perform some routine motions with my arms and feet. When it came down to my right arm, I could squeeze it and push but I could not lift my arm. Example using my bi-cep muscle so my arm just hangs. They sent me in for a CT Scan and found out one of the hinges moved and was pressing against the C5 an C6 nerve. So I had to rtn for surgery the next day on the 12/11 to remove and the bone that was inserted. Still after the surgery I cannot life my arm. I waiting for physicial therapy, so I will be off work longer than I wanted. So you'll never know what complicatioons arise after surgery. Good Luck.
  • since your laminoplasty surgery? My symptoms are very similar to yours - C3-C7. I had an ACDF in 2005 on C3-C4. Now it appears that I need another surgery from C3-C7 due to stenosis, arthritis, and lots of other stuff. I do NOT have myelopathy at this time - I did have it before my ACDF surgery, and there was no time to even think about that surgery. I had severe spinal cord compression. At this time, there is no cord compression, but the fluid that runs down the spinal canal is practically non-existent between C3-C7. I have had two opinions from different neurosurgeons. First neuro said laminectomy which would cause severe loss of range of motion in my neck and back. Very difficult surgery, lots of cutting, lots of hardware, etc. Second opinion was for laminoplasty - this neuro was older, has a lot more experience than the first neuro, and told me that laminoplasty has less risks than laminectomy. (The first neuro told me just the opposite - that laminoplasty has more risks - plus she doesn't DO laminoplasty surgery, only laminectomy). My main symptoms are balance problems. I've fallen a few times in the past 12 months, and I know that each time I fall, the risk gets higher for more damage to my spinal cord. I know that I need surgery, but both doctors said that I could "wait and see" if my symptoms started to get worse. If that happens, then surgery would be necessary right away. I don't know if I want to wait for my symptoms to get worse! My first cervical spine surgery was an emergency, due to the risk of being a paraplegic because of severe spinal cord compression.

    Anyway, I started this post to find out how you are doing after your laminoplasty. I'm hoping to hear that you are doing great and that the recovery process has not been too bad on you.

    If you have a chance, please reply, as I'm very interested in how the laminoplasty has helped you.

    Be well,
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