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A posterior cervical decompression and laminoplasty is a neurosurgical procedure that is performed to treat both pain and stenosis (narrowing) of the cervical spine (neck). The goal of surgery is the relieve pressure on the nerve roots or spinal cord while allowing the neck to move in a normal manner.
There will be a small incision made on the posterior (posterior means back, anterior means front) neck in order to access the stenosis in question. It is at this time that the pressure on the nerve roots and spinal cord will be relieved by correctly positioning the vertebrae in a manner that allows more room for the nerve root/spinal cord to exist without compression.
As you heal, the bone that was altered in order to provide more room for the nerve root/spinal cord will heal in the appropriate alignment.
It should be noted that the healing and recovery time can be very variable, being altered by things such as tobacco use. Tobacco use can be detrimental on recovery and healing.
If there are any question or concerns you wish to address about the procedure, please contact our medical staff at Princeton Brain and Spine.
I have a weird feeling in my throat when I swallow/sore throat/significant phlegm production. What’s going on?
Difficulty with swallowing (dysphagia), sore throat causing a loss of voice, etc is nothing unusual. These side effects are most prominent two to five days after surgery and will then begin to subside. Sleeping with your head elevated for the first few days after surgery may aid with these symptoms. If you have trouble breathing, please receive medical attention immediately
My incision site/wound site hurts. What’s going on?
Pain varies from person to person in regards to their incision. If there is excessive swelling, drainage, or pus from the incision site please get medical attention immediately. If there is fevers, chills, or nausea please receive medical attention immediately
How should I dress my wound? How long until I can dress and bathe normally again?
Your bandage may be removed the second day after surgery. The steri-strips, staples, and sutures should be left on the incision until you come to your post operative visit so we may exam the wound and remove them for you. This is between one and two weeks after surgery.
You may shower the third day after surgery, but try to make your showers quick. Excessive showering may irritate the incision. Please also do not make direct contact with the incision, rather let the water naturally run over it. Do not enter a hot tub, bath tub, pool, ocean or any other body of water until at least three weeks after surgery. Entering any non-sterile body of water may cause infection of the incision site.
When can I go about my activities of daily living as normal again? Do I have restrictions?
Diet: Pain medications can cause constipation. Using stool softeners and laxatives as well as engaging in a high fiber diet will aid with this. Straining yourself on the toilet is to be avoided, please aim to keep your stool malleable with the recommendations above.
Hospital stay: The hospital stay needed may vary. The hospital stay varies according to surgery and according to the individual. This can be from one to a few days in the hospital.
Returning to work: You can return to work depending on how you feel you are progressing after surgery. Usually, two weeks to recover is sufficient though you may be able to discuss when you feel able to return to work and a medical recommendation with your neurosurgical provider. If you are employed at an occupation that requires excessive physical exertion or labor, you may not be able to return to work for up to one month. This can vary and should be discussed with your neurosurgical provider.
Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is normally referred at your first post surgical visit. As stated above, please avoid twisting and bending your neck with physical therapy. If you begin to feel pain with physical therapy, stop and abstain from doing that specific motion and discuss with your neurosurgical provider the issue at your next post operative visit.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the medical staff at Princeton Brain and Spine. We may be reached at (215)741-3141. As always, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, please contact emergent medical services by phone at 911.
If you are curious to learn more about the procedure before it is performed, here are some great resources so you may do your own research:
LastUpdate: 2016-05-11 17:42:47