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Cervical laminectomy surgery is a procedure that is often done to relieve pressure on the spinal cord. This surgery can be very beneficial for patients suffering from Cervical Spondylosis or any other conditions that may be causing them pain and discomfort. 

However, surgeons need to be mindful of the many possible pitfalls associated with this surgery. The reason is that complications may occur from the anesthetic procedure and patient positioning to dura exposure and instrumentation. 

And although mild side effects can be normal post-operation, there might also be some that could occur if there are complications. This is why it is best to be aware of such. In this article, we will be discussing some possible complications and side effects that a patient can go through after surgery.

Cervical Laminectomy Surgery

What is a Cervical Laminectomy?

A Cervical Laminectomy is a surgery to remove a portion of the vertebral bone called the lamina. This surgery is often done to relieve pressure on the spinal cord.

The lamina is the back part of the vertebrae that covers and protects the spinal cord. Removing a portion of the lamina can take the pressure off the spinal cord and nerves.

This surgery is often done to treat Cervical Spondylosis, a condition that causes the vertebrae to degenerate. This degeneration can cause the bones to rub against each other and pinch the spinal cord or nerves.

Cervical Laminectomy surgery can also be done to treat other conditions that may be causing pain and discomfort, such as:

  • Herniated discs
  • Tumors
  • Spinal stenosis

Why might you need a Laminectomy?

Although there are several factors why a Cervical Laminectomy is done on a patient, most of the time, your doctor may recommend it if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
  • Weakness in the arms or legs
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Intense pain in the neck, shoulders, or arms

You will need to consult your physician to determine which type of laminectomy procedure is best for you, as there are two types: open and endoscopic. Depending on the severity of your condition, one type may be better than the other.

  1. Open Cervical Laminectomy – Surgeons make a large incision in your neck to access your spine. The muscles surrounding your spine are moved out of the way so your surgeon can see your vertebrae.
  2. Endoscopic Cervical Laminectomy – A tiny camera is inserted through a small incision in your neck. This camera gives your surgeon a clear view of your spine while they operate.

Possible Complications and Side Effects

Side Effects of Cervical Laminectomy Surgery

Like with any surgery, such as Lumbar Cervical Fusion, there are always risks and possible complications that may occur.

This is why it’s essential to be aware of these risks before the surgery to make an informed decision. A few potential side effects that can occur after Cervical Laminectomy surgery are usually mild and will go away on their own within a few days or weeks.

The most common side effect is neck pain. This is caused by the incision being made in the neck and the muscles being moved during the surgery. The neck pain will often get worse for the first few days after surgery but should start to improve after that.

Other potential side effects include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

If you experience these side effects intensely, it would be best to contact your doctor and tell them about it. 

Complications of Cervical Laminectomy Surgery

Although Cervical Laminectomy surgery is considered to be a safe procedure, there are a few potential complications that can occur. These complications are rare but can be severe.

The most common complication is a dural tear. The surgeon accidentally cuts through the dura, the protective covering around the spinal cord and nerves. A dural tear can cause cerebrospinal fluid leaks and lead to an infection.

Other potential complications that may occur include:

Spinal cord injury

Damage to the spinal cord can occur in various ways, although the most common cause is external trauma. This can occur during the surgery if the surgeon accidentally hits the spinal cord with a surgical instrument.

Damage to the nerves surrounding the spinal cord 

Nerve damage is usually temporary but can sometimes be permanent. This is why the surgeon needs to be very careful when operating near the nerves.


An infection can occur anytime after surgery, although it’s more common within the first few days or weeks. The incision site is most susceptible to disease, so it’s essential to keep an eye on it and report any changes to your doctor.

Nerve root injury

This occurs when the surgeon damages one of the nerves that exit the spinal cord. Nerve root injuries can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the affected area.

Risks linked to the use of general anesthesia

As with any surgery requiring general anesthesia, there are a few associated risks. These risks include but are not limited to:

  • Allergic reactions to the anesthesia
  • Problems breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness and confusion


Although Cervical Laminectomy surgery is a relatively safe procedure, there is always a risk of bleeding. This can occur during or after the surgery. If you have any concerns about bleeding, be sure to contact your doctor.


 Thrombophlebitis is a condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in the veins. This can happen after any surgery, although it’s more common if you’ve had surgery on your legs or hips. Still, it is better to be careful and to watch out for such complications as they can cut off blood circulation in our bodies.

Other complications may arise after the posterior cervical laminectomy surgery, depending on your specific health condition, just as with any surgery. Thus, it’s essential to be aware of the risks and potential complications before undergoing the procedure.


Q: Will I be able to go home the same day as my surgery?

A: Cervical Laminectomy is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, which means that you should be able to go home the same day. However, in some cases, you may need to stay overnight for observation.

Q: How long does the surgery take?

A: The surgery itself usually takes about two hours. However, when you factor in prep time and recovery time, you can expect to be at the hospital for four to six hours.

Q: What is the success rate of Cervical Laminectomy surgery?

A: Cervical Laminectomy has a high success rate and is considered a safe procedure. However, as with any surgery, there are risks and potential complications. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the risks before the procedure.

Q: Will I need physical therapy after the surgery?

A: You may need physical therapy after the surgery to help you regain strength and range of motion in your neck and shoulders. Your doctor will let you know if this is necessary.


Although there is nothing to worry about having Cervical Laminectomy surgery as it is a safe and effective procedure, you must still be careful and have it done by a reliable and trusted specialist, just like Long Island Neuroscience Specialists. Remember, as with any surgery; there are potential risks and complications. Be sure to talk to your doctor about the risks before the procedure.


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