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Cervical Laminoforaminotomy

What is a Cervical Laminoforaminotomy?

A cervical laminoforaminotomy is a minimally invasive procedure that can be used to remove bone spurs from the spine area when neck pain is not relieved by more conservative treatment, such as medication or physical therapy. The surgery, which is often performed on an outpatient basis, can relieve nerve root compression and its symptoms. It is often recommended to relieve spinal stenosis or cervical radiculopathy, a type of neck pain that radiates into the upper back and down the arms and hands.

What You Can Expect at UTHealth Neurosciences

The UTHealth Neurosciences Spine Center brings together a multidisciplinary team of board-certified, fellowship-trained neurosurgeons, neurologists, researchers, and pain management specialists who work together to help provide relief for even the most complex problems. People who suffer from radiculopathy, spondylosis, spinal stenosis, herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, peripheral nerve disorders, spinal cord injury, or other trauma benefit from our collaborative expertise in managing spine disorders.

Our multidisciplinary teams of specialists share insights, leading to better treatment decisions and outcomes. We first investigate nonsurgical treatment options, including medical management, pain management, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and watchful waiting. When surgery is needed, our neurosurgeons routinely employ innovative minimally invasive techniques. Throughout the treatment process, we will work closely with the doctor who referred you to ensure a smooth transition back to your regular care. While you are with us, you will receive expert care, excellent communication, and genuine compassion.

Anatomy of the neck and spine

The spine is divided into the following regions:

  • The cervical region (vertebrae C1-C7) encompasses the first seven vertebrae under the skull. Their main function is to support the weight of the head, which averages 10 pounds. The cervical vertebrae are more mobile than other areas, with the atlas and axis vertebra facilitating a wide range of motion in the neck. Openings in these vertebrae allow arteries to carry blood to the brain and permit the spinal cord to pass through. They are the thinnest and most delicate vertebrae.
  • The thoracic region (vertebrae T1-T12) is composed of 12 small bones in the upper chest. Thoracic vertebrae are the only ones that support the ribs. Muscle tension from poor posture, arthritis, and osteoporosis are common sources of pain in this region.
  • The lumbar region (vertebrae L1-L5) features vertebrae that are much larger to absorb the stress of lifting and carrying heavy objects. Injuries to the lumbar region can result in some loss of function in the hips, legs, and bladder control.
  • The sacral region (vertebrae S1-S5) includes a large bone at the bottom of the spine. The sacrum is triangular-shaped and consists of five fused bones that protect the pelvic organs.

Reasons for a Cervical Laminoforaminotomy

Most neck and back pain do not require surgery and can be relieved with medications and physical therapy. Laminoforaminotomy might be considered when a patient experiences persistent symptoms because of cervical foraminal spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, spinal degenerative problems, or bone spurs causing pain that radiates from the neck down into the hands. Patients may also experience weakness, numbness, loss of function, and the sensation of pins and needles.

Spinal surgery is usually only recommended when your doctor can pinpoint the cause of the pain, which is done with X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs.

What to expect during surgery and recovery

While the patient is under general anesthesia, the surgeon makes a small incision on the side of the neck. Tiny instruments are used to shave the thin plate of bone called the lamina, which protects the spinal cord. The surgeon will remove disc, bone, and other tissue that is crowding nerves on the foramen. The incision is closed, and the wound is bandaged. Patients are usually discharged the same day, with instructions to increase the amount of walking every day.

Recovery times depend on the health of the patient, but typically occurs within two to four weeks. Your spine surgeon will give you specific information related to your particular condition and lifestyle goals, as well as a detailed description of the surgery and instructions on how to make the best recovery.

Spine Disease and Back Pain


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At UTHealth Neurosciences, we offer patients access to specialized neurological care at clinics across the greater Houston area. To ask us a question, schedule an appointment, or learn more about us, please call (713) 486-8100, or click below to send us a message. In the event of an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest Emergency Room.


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