Cervical Posterior Foraminotomy

This surgery removes bone and/or portions of a herniated or diseased disc to relieve neck and radiating arm pain caused by parts of the disc pressing on nerve roots.

How is the procedure performed?

A disc herniation may compress the nerve root against the roof of the spinal canal. The highlighted area is the bone that will be removed in this procedure. The surgeon creates an incision in the neck to expose the bony roof of the spine. Surgical instruments are used to clear away bone and soft tissue. This gives the surgeon access to the pinched nerve root and herniated disc in the spinal canal. It also reduces pressure on the nerve root. The surgeon uses a small instrument to check the freedom of the nerve. If the surgeon finds a fragment of herniated disc beneath the nerve root, it is removed. The nerve root returns to a normal, comfortable position.

How long will it take to recover?

After the operation, you may need to wear a soft collar after the operation even though you are able to move around freely. If you are not able to go home on the day of the surgery, you may need to stay in the hospital for up to a day. Most people experience an average recovery time of about two to three weeks, but since the procedure is performed through the back of neck, cutting through muscle, each experience differs. After two to three weeks, your doctor may release your for light duty work. You will have a follow-up consultation to examine the wound and healing process.

What are the risks of an anterior cervical corpectomy?

As with most spinal surgeries there is a risk of bleeding, infection and reactions to anesthesia.

Specific risks for a cervical posterior foraminotomy may include:

  • Implant failure
  • Infections
  • Neck and/or arm pain
  • Bleeding or hematoma (collection of clotted blood)
  • Damage to spinal cord or nerves, possibly causing impairment or paralysis
  • Development or progression of disease at other cervical levels

When should I call my doctor?

You should contact us if you experience:

  • A temperature of 101.1° or above.
  • Increasing redness and swelling at the incision site.
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Changes in the amount, appearance, or odor of drainage from your incision.
  • New or increased changes in sensation/presence of numbness in extremities.
  • Severe pain that is not relieved by medication and rest.
  • Problems with your walking or balance
  • Questions or problems not covered by these instructions