Cervical laminectomy is a procedure to treat cervical stenosis. A section of the lamina bone is removed to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord. This procedure is performed to preclude progression of the spinal cord damage (myelopathy) and improve some of the symptoms that occurred due to the disease progression. Sometimes a more technically difficult procedure is required, which is called laminoplasty. Its goal is to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots while maintaining your normal motion of your neck. During the surgery, the soft tissues and muscles on the back of your neck are separated often using less-invasive techniques. The bone (called the lamina) overlying the spinal cord and canal is opened (similar to opening a door on a hinge) taking pressure off the spinal cord and/or nerve roots (thereby completing the ‘decompression’) but maintaining as much of the normal spinal anatomy as possible. After completing the spinal decompression, the bone is repositioned in a similar anatomic alignment as before the surgery but small spacers made from donor bone or PEEK (a body-friendly polymer) is fastened into place with a set of small metal plates where needed. Over time, the bone overlying the spinal canal grow back together in a manner that allows a greater amount of room for the spinal cord and nerve roots while maintaining normal or near-normal motion.
Cervical foraminotomy is a minimally invasive procedure that widens the space where a spinal nerve root exits the spinal canal and therefore relieves radiculopathy symptoms that are caused by nerve compression.