Planning and Preparing for Surgery
A laminoplasty is a procedure that is done to
take pressure off the spinal cord. If you
need surgery in your neck, or cervical spine,
you will have an incision from the back of
your neck about six inches long. The
neurosurgeon lifts the bones up off your
spinal cord. Titanium mini-plates and bone
grafts are then used to secure the bone after
it is lifted up.
Preparing and Planning for your Surgery
Please refer to your “Having Surgery at
UW Hospital” book for general
Please begin taking a stool softener two days
before surgery. Take docusate with senna
with at least 8 ounces of water. This will
prevent constipation caused by pain
medicine. Do not take any fiber or stool
softener on the morning of surgery.
If you are having any trouble with urination,
please let your surgeon or the advanced
practice provider who is caring for you
know. They may want to start a medication
to help with urination before surgery.
Recovery at Home
People who have this surgery are often
ready to discharge after 1-2 nights in the
hospital. You will need to plan ahead to
have a friend or family member available to
be with you at least the first 24-28 hours
after discharge. If you live alone, and
don’t have anyone to help, you may need
to discharge for rehabilitation at a skilled
nursing facility after discharge.
What to Expect after Surgery
You can expect to have some muscular neck
pain. Prior to surgery, you will be given
medicines to help prevent pain after surgery.
After surgery, your pain will be managed
with oral medicines designed to target
different sources of your pain. You neck
pain will improve. As your pain lessens,
you will need less medicine for the pain. All
pain pills should be taken with food and at
least 8 ounces of water. Do not take any
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines
for six (6) weeks. Taking these will slow
the healing process. Examples: ibuprofen
Check with your doctor before taking any of
these medicines. You should never start a
new drug even those you can buy over-the-
counter, without talking with your doctor or
Do not life more than 10 pounds (about 1
gallon of milk) until you are told that you
may lift more weight. Be conscious of how
much things weigh.
No pushing or pulling
No strenuous activity
Walking is good. Slowly increase the
amount of walking you do.
You may need to wear a collar after surgery.
If your doctor orders a collar:
ξ You will be sent home with one
collar that has an extra set of pads.
ξ You must wear your collar even
during a shower or while bathing.
ξ The collar will fit snugly, but
comfortably, around your neck. This
prevents you from bending your chin
to your chest and from turning your
head side to side.
Do not drive until after your follow up
appointment. You cannot drive while
taking narcotic pain pills. If you are
wearing a collar, you may drive when you
no longer wear the collare and can move
your head so you can drive safely.
Talk with your doctor about when you may
return to. Most often, you will be off 2 – 8
weeks. This depends upon the nature of the
work that you do.
What to Do for Constipation
When you are ready to go home, take
docusate with senna twice a day while you
are taking narcotic pain pills. If you do not
have a bowel movement within two days or
beyond your normal routine, take Milk of
Magnesia (6 teaspoons two to three times a
day) until you have a bowel movement.
You may eat prunes or drink prune juice
instead of taking Milk of Magnesia . Be
sure to drink several 8-ounce glasses of
water or juice daily so that your body has
After two weeks, you may resume your sex
life as soon as you feel comfortable to do so.
You may shower within three days. Please
wear the collar while you shower until you
are told that it is no longer needed. Keep
your incision clean and dry. When you are
in the shower, cover it with plastic wrap
taped over it for the first 5 days. After
bathing, gently pat dry with a clean towel.
Please have your care provider clean the
incision daily with mild soap and water.
Keep your incision lightly covered with
gauze to protect it from rubbing on your
collar. If you have stitches, they will be left
in place for about 2 to 3 weeks. If you have
dissolvable sutures, your return to clinic will
be in about 4 weeks.
Avoid being exposed to the sun. Do not use
Call your Doctor If You Notice Any Signs
ξ Increased redness, swelling, or any
ξ Increased pain that does not go away
ξ Fever greater than 100 θ F (oral) for
two readings taken 4 hours apart
Please call the Neurosurgery Clinic at
608-263-7502, Monday – Friday 8:00 am –
5:00 pm, with any questions. After hours,
the answering service will assist you.
If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 8/2016 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5505