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Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy

This procedure is a minimally invasive, designed to enlarge to space through which the nerve root exits from the spinal cord and simultaneously try to remove any piece of disc which is pushing on the nerve. The procedure is suitable which avoids limitations of other disc operations and gives excellent outcome in terms of pain relief in a minimally invasive manner.

In some cases, only foraminotomy can ease the symptoms without discectomy. In these case the whole disc is not removed, just the fragment that presses the nerve root, only that portions is removed. Fusion is not required and patients may not even neck collar after the surgery.


Selected patients with cervical disc herniation can be treated with decompression of the cervical nerve root through minimally invasive posterior cervical decompressions. This procedure can avoid fusion surgery for the cervical spine and preserve motion while achieving pain relief. In cervical disc herniation, the nerves in the neck are compressed then it causes arm pain. The intervertebral disc is located in front of the spinal nerves and is positioned between the vertebral bodies. It carries 80% of the load transmitted through the neck and acts as the shock absorber for the spine. C56 and C67 are the lowermost discs of the neck those are most prone to wear and tear and potential rupture. The annulus the outer shell has the consistency of a pencil eraser, whereas the nucleus becomes gel-like with the old age, dehydrates and becomes like crabmeat. The discs act as shock absorbers and flexing the spine loads the disc.

A rupture in the outer anulus can subsequently cause severe neck pain. Once an anular rupture happens, it may heal, or it may allow nucleus to come out of the centre of the disc, into the spinal canal, where it may compress the nerves. This is usually known by many terms such as disc prolapse, ruptured disc, slipped disc, and extruded disc. When nerves are compressed, surgery might become complex. The prolapsed disc cannot be pushed back into the original place and only over the time anular rupture can heal. Any surgery using this approach is aimed at improving the arm pain, but not the neck pain.

A disc herniation may not cause symptoms. When the anulus is ruptured, neck pain may be caused, however the treatment is usually not operative. If the disc pushes on a nerve then symptoms down one or occasionally both arms, such as pain, pin, numbness or weakness may result.

Indications : Cervical Disc Herniation, Cervical Facet Joint Hypertrophy