If you have been diagnosed with cervical spinal stenosis, you may be a candidate for a cervical laminectomy. This surgery removes the lamina, or roof of the vertebrae, to create more space for the spinal cord and nerves.
Although it is not a major surgery, you should still prepare for it to have a smooth recovery. Like in any other surgery, such as the Lumbar Cervical Fusion, where you have to undergo several preparations, this is the same with undergoing a Cervical Laminectomy surgery.
This article will discuss how you can prepare for your cervical laminectomy surgery and what things you need before going under the knife.
Prepare for a Cervical Laminectomy Surgery
Purpose of the Surgery
A cervical laminectomy is performed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. In most cases, this surgery is done when other conservative treatments, such as physical therapy and pain medication, have not helped relieve your symptoms.
So, what are the common symptoms of a patient who needs to undergo a laminectomy? The most common symptom of cervical stenosis is neck pain. Other symptoms may include:
- Arm weakness or numbness
- Clumsiness in the hands
- Loss of balance
- Pain that radiates from the neck into the shoulders or arms
- Difficulty walking because of leg weakness or numbness
- numbness or aching that runs down the buttocks and into the legs
- cramping or weakness in the hands, arms, legs, or feet
- difficulty controlling bladder or bowel movements
A person may develop spinal stenosis for several reasons, but aging is one of the most common causes. Moreover, these symptoms usually worsen over time and can become debilitating if not treated.
So, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about whether a cervical laminectomy is right for you.
How to Get Ready for the Cervical Laminectomy Surgery
If your doctor has mentioned the need to have a Cervical Laminectomy Surgery to lessen the symptoms you are experiencing, you would have to prepare both physically, mentally, and emotionally. After all, this is surgery.
The first thing you need to do is to have a conversation with your surgeon. Explain your medical history, and tell him honestly all your health habits as they may affect the operation.
It would help if you asked about the surgery and what you can expect during and after it. You must understand the risks and potential complications associated with cervical laminectomy surgery.
While discussing with your surgeon, you must also ask what kind of anesthesia will be used and how long the surgery is expected to take. Many tests would be needed before, during, and after the surgery, including blood work and imaging tests of your cervical spine.
Furthermore, your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for your cervical laminectomy surgery. These instructions may include:
- Quitting smoking at least two weeks before the surgery to improve healing
- Avoiding eating or drinking anything after midnight the night before the surgery
- Arrange for someone to drive you home after the surgery and stay with you for at least the first 24 hours post-surgery.
After your conversation with your doctor and clearly understanding what will happen during and after the cervical laminectomy surgery, it is time to focus on your recovery.
But before that, you should also know what happens during the Posterior Cervical Laminectomy.
A cervical laminectomy is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, which means you will go home the same day. But then again, this is a case-to-case basis.
When preparing for a Cervical Laminectomy, make sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions on the day of the surgery. Some of the things that might be instructed include:
- Follow the instructions of your doctor exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. This is because it might affect your body state, and the operation schedule might get canceled.
- Take a bath before you come in for your surgery and do not apply lotions, deodorants, or perfumes.
- Do not shave the surgical site yourself; let the doctors or nurses do it.
After all these, then you are ready to undergo the Cervical Laminectomy. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia, which means you will be asleep during the procedure.
During the surgery, your surgeon will make a small incision in the front of your neck and carefully detach the muscles to access the spine. The surgeon will then remove the lamina to create more spinal cord and nerve space.
After the surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room, where you will be closely monitored. You may have a drain in your incision to help drain any excess blood or fluid. You will likely experience some pain and discomfort after the surgery. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication to help you manage the pain.
To alleviate the pain and avoid complications, you should avoid lifting anything heavier than five pounds for at least six weeks after the surgery. You must also avoid bending, twisting, and significant neck movements.
Aside from this, your surgeon will likely recommend physical therapy to help you regain range of motion and strength in your neck and instruct you on how to do aftercare at home.
Most people experience a significant improvement in their symptoms after cervical laminectomy surgery. However, it is still essential to understand that this surgery does not cure cervical stenosis. The surgery aims to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves and improve your symptoms.
Cervical Laminectomy Surgery Recovery Timeline
Now that you know how to prepare for a Cervical Laminectomy, you might also be interested to know the recovery timeline after cervical laminectomy surgery, which varies from person to person.
Most people stay in the hospital for one to two days after the surgery. Moreover, you will likely have a drain in your incision for the first day or two.
For a smooth recovery, you will need to avoid strenuous activities and traveling long distances via airplane or car for weeks. You can always take a short walk whenever it is convenient for exercise.
Aside from this, your surgeon will likely recommend physical therapy depending on the need and situation.
Q Will I experience pain after cervical laminectomy surgery?
A: Yes, you will likely experience pain and discomfort after the cervical laminectomy surgery. Your surgeon will prescribe pain medication to help you manage the pain.
Q How long does it take to recover from cervical laminectomy surgery?
A: Most people stay in the hospital for one to two days after the cervical laminectomy surgery. Moreover, you will likely have a drain in your incision for the first day or two.
Q What are the things I need to avoid after cervical laminectomy surgery?
A: To avoid complications, you should avoid lifting anything heavier than five pounds for at least six weeks after the cervical laminectomy surgery. You will also need to avoid bending, twisting, and significant neck movements.
Q What is the goal of cervical laminectomy surgery?
A: The goal of cervical laminectomy surgery is to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves and improve your symptoms. However, it is still essential to understand that this surgery does not cure cervical stenosis.
Cervical laminectomy Surgery isn’t something to be worried about. However, you must prepare for it to ensure a smooth recovery process. Further, it is better to speak with reliable specialists like the Long Island Neuroscience specialists to help you prepare and understand the procedure. Hopefully, this article has helped as well!
Looking for a neurosurgeon specialist? Look no further than Long Island Neuroscience Specialists. Our team of experts are dedicated to providing the latest minimally invasive procedures and pain medicine services. We’re home to the top experts in Long Island, New York, with special expertise in treatments for patients with a wide range of neurologic disorders and chronic pain conditions. So if you’re looking for the best in back surgery, neck surgery, brain surgery or pain management, you’ve come to the right place. Contact us today to learn more about our services.
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