Cervical Foraminotomy & Discectomy

Doctor studying Cervical Foraminotomy Discectomy

Cervical laminoforaminotomy and posterior cervical discectomies are procedures performed in the neck to relieve pressure from the spinal cord and nerve roots.

There are slight differences between each of these procedures and they are frequently performed in conjunction depending on the patient’s spinal condition.

The surgery involves making an incision on the back of the neck through which a retractor may be placed. An operating microscope is then used to visualize the spinal cord and nerve roots, in order that pressure can be safely removed. If a disc herniation is present this is also removed.

After surgery:

Once surgery is complete the patient will spend a few hours in the surgical recovery area for monitoring.

  • Most patients go home the day of surgery; however, rarely a patient may need to spend the night in the hospital for routine monitoring.
  • A neck brace may be provided in certain instances to help support the neck.

All surgical patients at Comprehensive Spine Care are provided with medications prior to the date of surgery with instructions on their post-operative usage. Wound care, medication and diet instructions for after surgery are also provided upon discharge from the hospital and are also available here.

As a common complication found in adults, cervical spine disease is the result of nerves in the neck being compressed. This results in symptoms that include neck pain, severe numbness in the hands accompanied by shocking pain in the hands, arm, or shoulder. Thankfully these concerns can often be addressed without the need for aggressive treatments or surgery. In those patients who continue to have symptoms in spite of less aggressive methods being used, there are options. Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy is a procedure used to remove pressure from a spinal nerve that’s become pinched.

What Is A Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy?

This procedure aims to relieve pressure from impacted nerve roots. This is accomplished by creating additional room through the foramen for the root to pass. Cervical Foraminotomy aims to remove disc material from places where it is pressing on the nerve, often in the form of a bone spur. This procedure is often considered to be minimally invasive thanks to the small incision and no fusion of the spine being involved. This treatment is often used to treat cases of cervical spinal disease where bulging or weakening of the discs can cause compression or pinching of the nerves.

How Is A Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy Performed?

The procedure begins with a patient lying face down. General anesthesia will be used during the procedure, so they will experience nothing while it is being done. Our provider will make a 1-2in incision and will slowly dissect the soft tissue near the compression. Using precision equipment, small pieces of bone will be removed to reveal the root inside the foramen. The nerve will be gently moved out of the way to allow more material to be taken until a comfortable amount of space has been created for the nerve to pass through the disc. 

What Happens After The Procedure Is Complete?

Following the Foraminotomy you will be fitted with a soft collar to support your neck while it heals. Most patients who go through with this procedure will experience relief, with as much as 85-90% seeing positive results. To enhance the chances of success, you may be prescribed physical therapy to help you recover fully. During your recovery, you will need to watch for some potential side-effects, including stiffness in the neck, bleeding, nerve or spinal cord damage, symptoms that have not been completely relieved, or recurrence of disc herniation.

Posterior cervical Foraminotomy is just one of the treatment options for compression nerve pain available to patients at Comprehensive Spine Care. If you’d care to learn more about what our amazing team can do for you, give us a call at 201-634-1811 today. We’ll take down some basic information and schedule you for an appointment at one of our three New Jersey locations. Every day thousands of Americans live with chronic pain caused by nerve compression, but there are treatments that can help. Our office’s dedication to minimally invasive surgery means that the surgery will be quick and the recovery times shorter than with other options, so call now!

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