This procedure is used to treat a painfully restricted spinal canal in the neck. The procedure creates more space for the spinal cord and nerve roots, immediately relieving pressure. The technique is often called an "open door laminaplasty," because the back of each vertebra is made to swing open like a door.
The surgeon creates an incision on the back of the neck. A groove is cut down one side of the cervical vertebrae to create a hinge. The other side of the vertebrae is cut all the way through. The tips of the spinous processes are removed to create room for the bones to swing open like a door. The back of each vertebra is opened, taking pressure off of the spinal cord and nerve roots. Small wedges made of bone are placed in the opened space. The surgeon closes the bone "door." The wedges stop it from closing completely. The spinal cord and nerve roots will now rest comfortably.