A biomechanical comparison of cervical laminaplasty and cervical laminectomy with progressive facetectomy

G P Nowinski, H Visarius, L P Nolte, H N Herkowitz
Spine 1993 October 15, 18 (14): 1995-2004
The effects of multilevel cervical laminaplasty and laminectomy with increasing amounts of facetectomy on stability of the cervical spine were tested with physiologic loading in nine cadaveric specimens. Cervical spines, levels C2-C7, were tested with physiologic loading in a constraint-free test system, the motion of each body being tracked in a three-dimensional coordinate system. Cervical laminectomy with 25% or more facetectomy resulted in a highly significant increase in cervical motion compared to the intact specimens for the dominant motions of flexion/extension (P < 0.003), axial torsion (P < 0.001), and lateral bending (P < 0.001). Cervical laminaplasty was not significantly different from the intact control, except for a marginal increase in axial torsion. Coupled motion did not change with laminaplasty or laminectomy with progressive facetectomy. As little as 25% facetectomy adversely affects stability after multilevel cervical laminectomy. Cervical laminaplasty avoids this problem, while still affording multilevel decompression. Therefore in patients undergoing cervical laminectomy accompanied by more than 25% bilateral facetectomy, concurrent arthrodesis should be performed.

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