Cervical Stenosis Treatment

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Cervical stenosis is a type of spinal stenosis that affects the neck. At UVA Health, you'll find experts who specialize in treating cervical stenosis.

Cervical Stenosis Treatment at UVA Health

At UVA Health, we are spine experts. We perform more than 1,500 spine procedures each year. These procedures include surgery to relieve pain and weakness caused by cervical stenosis. Learn more about our spine care expertise.

Your surgeon will first want you to try nonoperative treatments.

If these measures don't help, you may be a good candidate for surgery. The goal of surgery is to take the pressure off the spinal cord and/or nerve roots.

Decompression involves removing or trimming whatever is causing the compression. Your surgeon will work with you to decide the best approach for you.


At UVA Health, you'll find spine surgeons who are experts in all the surgical ways to relieve pain from cervical stenosis. These include: 

  • Decompressive laminectomy is a common surgical procedure to treat cervical stenosis. This procedure removes the lamina (vertebral roof). This creates more space in the spinal canal for nerves. If your surgeon only removes part of the lamina, the procedure is known as a decompressive laminotomy.
  • posterior laminoplasty expands the size of the spinal canal by lifting the lamina on one side. This procedure retains spinal stability and reduces the need for fusion. 
  • discectomy removes part of or an entire disc, such as a herniated disc that compresses nerve structures.  
  • foraminotomy enlarges the size of the foramen (nerve passageways) to decompress nerve roots.
  • Instrumentation and fusion stabilizes the spine. It may be combined with another procedure, such as a discectomy. 

2 Types of Cervical Stenosis

Cervical central stenosis is when the spinal canal becomes narrow. 

Cervical foraminal stenosis is when the nerve passageways become narrow.

When either condition develops, the spinal cord and/or nerves get compressed. You may have both types of cervical stenosis.