Cervical laminotomies are performed to relieve pressure on a compressed spinal nerve in the neck. Removal of bone spurs or disc herniations usually relieves the associated neck and arm pain. Whereas laminectomies remove the entire lamina, a laminotomy is done when only a portion of the lamina needs to be excised in order to remove material that is compressing nerve roots.
An incision is made on the back of the neck. Surgical instruments are used to remove a portion of the lamina, often with the aid of a surgical microscope, which ensures a high degree of accuracy. If there is a disc herniation, removing this portion of the lamina allows access for removing pieces of the disc that are compressing the spinal nerve. Bone spurs may also be removed to take the pressure off the compressed, painful nerves.
The incision is closed and dressed to complete the procedure. A cervical collar is usually worn for a short time after surgery. Many patients notice rapid relief of arm pain.