Overview and Indications
Using innovative technology, a cervical decompression can now be accomplished using a small poke-hole incision with minimal tissue dissection and a faster recovery. A microscopic posterior cervical foraminotomy can both be performed in less time, with less tissue damage and less pain than traditional open cervical spinal surgery.
A microscopic posterior cervical foraminotomy is performed for patients with a symptomatic cervical herniated disc with foraminal stenosis occurring at one or two levels of the spine. It is performed to remove the large, arthritic bone spurs and a portion of the herniated disc(s) compressing the spinal nerves. A microscopic posterior cervical foraminotomy is favored for patients with a small or moderate herniated disc and foraminal stenosis at one or two levels, yet it is not recommended for patients with cervical kyphosis, severe neck pain or large herniated discs.
Most patients are able to go home one to two days after surgery. Before patients go home, physical therapists and occupational therapists work with patients and instruct them on proper techniques of getting in and out of bed and walking independently. Patients are instructed to avoid excessive bending and twisting of the neck in the acute postoperative period (first one to two weeks). Patients can gradually begin to bend and twist their neck after two to three weeks as the pain subsides and the neck and back muscles get stronger. Patients are also instructed to avoid heavy lifting in the acute postoperative period (first three to four weeks).
Most patients are not required to wear a neck brace after surgery, but most patients are issued a soft cervical collar. This reduces the stress on the neck area and helps decrease pain in the early postoperative period.