At the Advanced Center for Orthopedics and Plastic Surgery, our specialty-trained orthopedic spine surgeon Dr. Warlick is highly skilled in performing vertebral laminectomy and corpectomy (also referred to as cervical, thoracic, and lumbar laminectomy and corpectomy). The Advanced Center for Orthopedics and Plastic Surgery has been performing neck, midback, and lower back surgery for more than three decades. That means your spine surgery will be performed by a team whose experience and skill-set is virtually unmatched in Marquette, the surrounding Upper Peninsula, and throughout Northern Michigan.
Cervical laminectomy is an orthopedic procedure used to treat spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal) in the neck. Cervical laminectomy involves creating a small incision on the back of the neck in order to access the vertebrae. The lamina (bony arch on backside of the vertebrae) and bone spurs (tiny outgrowths of bone caused by inflammation) are carefully removed, alleviating pressure from the spinal cord and nerve roots. The incision is properly closed and drains may be inserted into the wound to avoid fluid buildup.
Thoracic and lumbar laminectomy, also known as decompression, is an orthopedic procedure used to treat thoracic (midback) and lumbar (lower back) spinal stenosis. A laminectomy can either be performed as open surgery or done using minimally invasive techniques, depending on what the spine surgeon views as best. This method involves creating an incision down the lower back, and carefully moving the muscles aside in order to access the spine. The surgeon removes the spinous process (the bones felt when touching the middle portion of the lower back), the damaged lamina (the vertebra radiating pressure on the nerve roots), and clears away any bone fragments that are squeezing and constricting the nerves.
In this surgical approach, a spine surgeon creates a one to two-inch incision on the back of the neck (cervical), accessing the spine. The diseased bone and discs are carefully removed, lifting pressure off the irritated spinal cord. Bone graft, screws, and metal plates are secured to the vertebrae in order to help straighten the spinal column and ensure proper healing.
Thoracic and lumbar corpectomy is a procedure that is performed in order to relieve pain and irritation caused by diseased and/or deformed vertebrae of the mid and lower back sections. The spinal surgeon makes an incision on the back, carefully removing damaged discs and bone fragments. The surgeon then inserts screws into the vertebrae above and below the gap, fixing the spinal curvature and deformity. Bone graft is inserted into the empty space, stimulating bone healing.
A laminectomy and corpectomy are major surgical procedures that require the patient be under general anesthesia. This means you won’t be awake for surgery and will therefore be comfortable and feel no pain. Because these back and neck surgeries typically involve cutting through muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bone in the vertebrae, the patient typically has to undergo a recovery process involving extensive follow-up care and physical therapy that may last up to several months or more, depending on the patient’s individual situation and what the spine surgeon thinks is best. Often times, the surgeon will recommend wearing a brace or cervical collar in order to maintain spine alignment.
To learn more about what to expect when you undergo cervical, thoracic, or lumbar laminectomy or corpectomy, please visit our surgery prep and recovery page and interactive videos.