Cervical laminectomy for the treatment of cervical degenerative myelopathy

J Neurosurg Spine. 2009 Aug;11(2):142-9. doi: 10.3171/2009.1.SPINE08725.


Object: The objective of this systematic review was to use evidence-based medicine to examine the efficacy of cervical laminectomy for the treatment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM).

Methods: The National Library of Medicine and Cochrane Database were queried using MeSH headings and keywords relevant to cervical laminectomy and CSM. Abstracts were reviewed after which studies meeting inclusion criteria were selected. The guidelines group assembled an evidentiary table summarizing the quality of evidence (Classes I-III). Disagreements regarding the level of evidence were resolved through an expert consensus conference. The group formulated recommendations that contained the degree of strength based on the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines network. Validation was done through peer review by the Joint Guidelines Committee of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

Results: Laminectomy has improved functional outcome for symptomatic cervical myelopathy (Class III). The limitations of the technique are an increased risk of postoperative kyphosis compared to anterior techniques or laminoplasty or laminectomy with fusion (Class III). However, the development of kyphosis may not necessarily to diminish the clinical outcome (Class III).

Conclusions: Laminectomy is an acceptable therapy for near-term functional improvement of CSM (Class III). It is associated with development of kyphosis, however.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Practice Guideline
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cervical Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Laminectomy*
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / surgery*
  • Spondylosis / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome