Decompressive surgery refers to a group of specialized procedures that are done to relieve chronic symptoms that are caused by pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots.


At Long Island Spine Specialists, we offer two main decompressive surgeries: laminectomy and cervical laminoplasty.

Here’s what you need to know about these procedures:


The basics:

  • Highly effective way to treat back pain
  • Recommended when conservative treatments have failed
  • Very common back surgery
  • Involves removing bone spurs, ligaments and/or a portion of the vertebrae

The procedure:

To begin the laminectomy procedure, one of our surgeons will create an incision in the affected area. Through that opening, we will expose the spine by gently moving the muscles and soft tissue aside. From there, we will cut away any structures that are compressing the nerves – including bone, bone spurs, and ligaments.

The recovery:

  • This procedure requires a hospital stay of one to five days
  • Post-surgical back pain is normal and can be managed with medication
  • Most patients can return to light activity within a few weeks


The basics:

A cervical laminoplasty is done to relieve pressure on the spinal cord in the neck. This pressure often develops due to tumors, arthritis, degenerative changes, disc herniation, bone spurs, fractures and more.

The procedure:

To begin this procedure, one of our surgeons will create an incision in the back of your neck to expose the spinal column. We will then create two incisions in the affected bone to open up the spinal canal and relieve pressure on the spinal cord. From there, we will insert a small metal plate or bone graft to ensure that the area remains open.

The recovery:

  • This procedure requires a hospital stay of one to two days
  • Expect post-surgical pain and limited mobility for a few weeks
  • Physical therapy will necessary after this procedure


The basics:

Cervical laminectomy is done to widen the spinal canal in order to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerve. It is a common treatment approach for patients suffering from cervical spinal stenosis.

The recovery:

  • A cervical laminectomy and fusion requires a hospital stay of two to three days
  • Activities will be limited for several weeks after the procedure
  • You will need to wear a cervical collar for up to six weeks after surgery
  • Physical therapy will be necessary eight to twelve weeks after surgery

The procedure:

Your cervical laminectomy will be done under general anesthesia. To begin, our spine surgeons will create an incision along the middle of the back of the neck to obtain access to the cervical spine. Through that opening, we will remove a small section of the lamina – which is the bony roof of the spine.

A fusion may be done simultaneously to stabilize the spine, prevent further compression, and reduce the likelihood of recurrent symptoms. To perform the fusion, our spine surgeons will insert a bone graft to fuse two or more vertebrae together. We may also place metal plates and screws to ensure that the bones remain in place until the area has healed.

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  • FDA-approved
  • Restores spinal stability after surgery
  • Preserves spinal flexibility and motion

After decompressive surgery, the spine can become unstable. Traditionally, this instability is corrected with a spinal fusion procedure, which involves connecting problematic vertebrae together into one, solid bone using metal rods and screws. Although it is effective in providing stability, this approach also eliminates motion in the spine.

The colflex device is a titanium metal implant that restores spinal stability after decompressive surgery. It offers an alternative to spinal fusion and preserves your ability to walk naturally and engage in your favorite activities, such as gardening and exercising. It can be inserted during a simple procedure using the same incision that was created for your decompressive surgery.

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