Cervical Laminectomy

What is a cervical laminectomy?

A Cervical Laminectomy is performed to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord in your neck.

A cut will be made in the skin at the back of your neck. X-rays will be taken during surgery and used to confirm the correct levels of the spine.

Small portions of bone and ligaments will be removed from the affected cervical spine to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord.

The cut will be closed with stitches or staples.

My Anaesthetic

This procedure will require a General Anaesthetic.

See About your Anaesthetic information sheet for information about the anaesthetic and the risks involved. If you have any concerns, talk these over with your doctor.

If you have not been given an information sheet, please ask for one.

What are the risks of this specific procedure?

There are some risks/complications with this procedure.

Common risks include:

  • Infection. This may need antibiotics and further treatment.
  • Minor pain, bruising and/or infection from IV cannula site. This may require treatment with antibiotics.
  • Bleeding. A return to the operating room for further surgery may be required if bleeding occurs. Bleeding is more common if you have been taking blood thinning drugs such as Warfarin, Asprin, Clopidogrel (Plavix or Iscover) or Dipyridamole (Persantin or Asasantin).
  • Small areas of the lung may collapse, increasing the risk of chest infection. This may need antibiotics and physiotherapy.
  • Increase risk in obese people of wound infection, chest infection, heart and lung complications, and thrombosis.

Uncommon risks include:

  • A heart attack because of the strain on the heart.
  • Stroke or stroke like complications can occur which can cause weakness in the face, arms and legs. This could be temporary or permanent.
  • Clots in the leg (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) with pain and swelling. Rarely part of this clot may break off and go into the lungs.
  • Ongoing persistent neck and arm pain. This may not improve after surgery and may continue to deteriorate despite surgery.
  • Nerve root injury that causes a weak arm/s, this may be temporary or permanent.

Rare risks include:

  • Leakage of cerebrospinal fluid. This may need further surgery.
  • Injury to vertebral artery. This may result in stroke.
  • Meningitis. This would require further treatment and antibiotics.
  • Instability of cervical spine. This may need further surgery and fusion.
  • Quadriplegia. This may temporary or permanent.
  • Death is very rare due to this procedure.

Cervical Laminectomy