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Posterior Cervical Laminectomy and Fusion

Understanding Posterior Cervical Laminectomy and Fusion

All spine surgeries have two primary goals — first, to remove pressure from the nerve roots and spinal cord; second, to stabilize the neck. Likewise, posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion also aims to decompress the nerve roots and spinal canal and subsequently stabilize the neck, allowing patients to regain complete neck mobility.

Dr. Brian McHugh is a board-certified neurological surgeon specializing in the latest minimally invasive spine surgeries, including posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion. However, he only recommends surgery after trying a series of non-invasive treatments, including corticosteroid injections, medications, and physical therapy.

father lifting up his son

What are the types of bone grafts used?

  • Autograft: The bone grafting material is taken from the patient’s body — either from the neck during the laminectomy or the hips.
  • Allograft: The bone grafting material comes from a donor from the bone bank.
  • Bone Graft Substitute: The bone grafting material is synthetic, i.e., man-made.

What is posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion?

Most patients have a hard time understanding what posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion means. Breaking down and explaining the individual terms may help you understand:

  • Posterior (back): The incision is made in the back of the neck.
  • Cervical (neck): The treatment addresses problems arising in the cervical (neck) spine, i.e., the uppermost part of the spinal column comprising seven vertebrae.
  • Laminectomy (lamina removal): The lamina is a thin structure at the roof of the spinal column at the back of the neck. During the treatment, the lamina is removed to access the spinal cord.
  • Fusion (to join): Bone grafts and implants are used to fuse the upper and lower vertebrae, ensuring cervical spine stability. The implant materials provide temporary stability, and bone grafts provide long-term stability by encouraging bone growth.

Putting all these components together describes how posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion works. Dr. McHugh delivers general anesthesia and creates an incision in the back of the neck. He uses specialized tools to separate the muscles and soft tissues without cutting them. Next, he carefully removes the lamina, accessing the underlying spinal column and nerves. After accessing the spinal column, the surgeon places screws, rods, or implants to support the spine. Finally, bone grafting materials are implanted to encourage bone growth for long-term stability.

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“Getting an appointment was quick and easy. The ladies I spoke with were all very professional, friendly, and helpful, whether it was a phone call or in-person visits. Being able to complete paperwork online before going to the office was convenient as well. Dr. McHugh was very professional and gave a clear and honest opinion and plan moving forward.”

Am I a suitable candidate for a posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion?

Posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion is a spine surgery used to treat spinal problems leading to the compression of the neurologic structures in the neck, such as disc degeneration, disc herniation, spondylosis, or spinal stenosis. However, posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion isn’t suitable for all patients with cervical spinal problems.

Before recommending a minimally invasive surgery, Dr. McHugh tries treating your spinal problems with non-invasive methods, including medications, injections, and physical therapy. You qualify for posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion if the non-operative treatments fail, if your spinal problems worsen, or if you experience severe neurological symptoms, including numbness and loss of mobility.

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