Posterior Cervical Laminectomy and Fusion

- [Narrator] If you have a condition in your neck

that puts pressure on your spinal cord or spinal nerves,

your doctor may recommend

a posterior cervical laminectomy and fusion.

The spine in your neck, also called the cervical spine,

has seven bones called vertebrae.

The front part of each vertebra

is called the vertebral body,

except for the first vertebra.

Between most vertebrae is a soft cushion of cartilage

called an intervertebral disc.

The back part of each vertebra has a curved section

called the vertebral arch.

Except for the first vertebra,

each vertebral arch has a bony projection

called the spinous process.

On each side of the spinous process

is a flat piece of bone called a lamina.

The vertebral arch of the vertebra

surrounds and protects your spinal cord,

a column of nervous tissue

connecting your brain to other nerves in your body.

Your spinal cord passes through an enclosed space

called the vertebral canal,

which is formed by the vertebral arches of your vertebrae.

Over time, your cervical spine may develop problems

such as a shrinking disc,

a herniated or ruptured disc,

or bony growths on your vertebrae called bone spurs.

These changes can narrow your vertebral canal

and put pressure on your spinal cord

or the nerves that branch off of it.

The pressure can cause neck pain and stiffness

or pain, numbness and weakness in your arms or hands.

Before your procedure, an intravenous line, or IV,

will be started.

You may be given antibiotics through the IV

to decrease your chance of infection.

You will be given general anesthesia

to make you unconscious and pain-free during the procedure.

A breathing tube will be inserted

through your mouth and down your throat

to help you breathe during the operation.

Your surgeon will make an incision on the back of your neck.

The laminae of the affected vertebrae will be exposed.

The spinous processes and laminae

will be removed from the affected vertebrae

to relieve the pressure on your spinal cord and nerves.

Next, your surgeon will remove the outer layer of bone.

Metal rods or plates

will be attached to your vertebrae with screws.

Your surgeon may use some bone tissue

called a bone graft,

usually taken from your hip bone.

This bone graft material is placed along your vertebrae.

These steps are done

so your vertebrae can grow together or fuse.

Your surgeon will close your skin incision with sutures,

surgical skin glue, or staples.

Your neck may be placed in a collar

to keep it still while your vertebrae fuse.

After your procedure, your breathing tube will be removed

and you will be taken to the recovery area for monitoring.

You'll be given pain medication as needed.

You may be released from the hospital

within 2 to 3 days after your procedure.

You will wear your neck collar for several weeks

while your vertebrae fuse together.