Cervical laminectomy is used to treat symptoms of spinal cord compression (numbness and weakness in the arms and legs), and sometimes nerve pain in the arm as well. The surgical incision is on the back of the neck and time in hospital is a few days.
In theatre positioning of the head and neck is carefully attended to. The bones at the back of the neck are called laminae and they are revealed by separation of the muscles. A special cutting drill is used to remove the lamina bones and relieve pressure on the spinal cord. Magnification with operating loupes is used to guide this process. Sometimes stabilisation with screws and rods is also required.
A collar is generally not required. Walking is started the day after surgery. If there is pain across the shoulders it is treated with pain killers. Most people go home after a few days, but sometimes rehabilitation is needed if pre-operative function was impaired.