Announcing our new Non-Testifying Consulting Service

Posterior Cervical Laminotomy

Posterior Cervical Laminotomy

DEFINITION:  POSTERIOR CERVICAL LAMINOTOMY, FORAMINOTOMY AND DISCECTOMY.  For patients with arm radiation pains caused by laterally located disc herniations  or bone spurs, this may be a good option.  By definition,  it means making an incision to the back of the neck and removing small bits of bone from the bone that encases and surrounds the spinal cord and nerves (lamina), and opening the hole (foramen) by which the nerves branch out of the spinal canal.   Discectomy means removing the disc herniation that is causing pressure on the nerves.  In the neck,  discectomy can be performed safely when the disc herniation is located away from the spinal canal.  That means it should be located near the periphery,  and away from the spinal cord.


For a certain group of neck pain patients that do not improve despite conservative treatments (therapy,  medications,  injections,  time, etc.), surgery may be an option.

For most patients,  a disk herniation or bone spur is located in such a manner that an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion is required for proper management of the condition.

For some patients,  however,  the disk herniation is located laterally enough that the disk can be removed safely by a Posterior Cervical Laminotomy and  discectomy.  In some instances,  there is a isolated bone spur or two that can also be removed in this manner.

In terms of the Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy,  the incision is made to the back of the neck,  and a small area of bone is removed that may be covering and pinching the nerve.  In addition,  if amenable by its location,  the disk herniation fragment can be retrieved without significant pressure on the spinal cord.

While not as common as Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion,  it is a viable option for the properly selected patient.

Please go the the SPINE ANIMATIONS section, and look under Spinal Procedures for an animation on Posterior Cervical Laminotomy.

Last modified: October 22, 2019