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Cervical Foraminotomy

Foraminotomy is a surgery that helps relieve spinal nerve root compression by opening up space in your spinal nerve root canal (foramen) to make more room for your spinal nerve roots.

Significant arthritis, bone spurs, overgrown joints, and thickened ligaments can put significant pressure on the nerve roots, causing pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling.

Cervical foraminotomy is typically used to treat:  foraminal stenosis, radiculopathy, cervical disc herniation

Having Foraminotomy Surgery

During foraminotomy surgery, after under general anesthesia, you will be placed face down on a specialized table with your head slightly flexed.

Your surgeon will make a small incision in or near the midline of your posterior neck, and carefully dissect through muscle to gain access to the spine.

The surgeon will then remove bone, ligament, and any other tissue that is obstructing the passageway of your spinal nerve roots.

Special drills, curettes, and rongeurs are used to remove any bone spurs or bony overgrowth that causes spinal nerve root compression.

Once completed, your surgeon will be able to directly visualize your spinal nerves, ensuring adequate decompression.

How Foraminotomy Helps

Foraminotomy works by eliminating the compression that is causing your symptoms.

Wear and tear to your spine occurs as you age, or due to degenerative conditions.

Removing bone spurs that have formed, or removing some bone and tissue will help provide a larger opening for your nerve roots.

Taking the pressure off your nerves places them in a better environment to reduce inflammation and heal, which then helps to reduce your symptoms.

Benefits of Cervical Foraminotomy

Cervical foraminotomy allows for a minimally invasive approach to your spine, with less muscle disruption and tissue disruption.

This allows for shorter operative times, shorter recovery, and quicker return to normal activity.

Additionally, it allows direct removal of offending agents and allows the surgeon direct visualization of your nerves to ensure they are adequately decompressed.

Furthermore, because it does not involve a fusion, your flexibility and range of motion are maintained.

Recovering from Foraminotomy Surgery

After foraminotomy surgery, your surgeon may ask that you wear a soft neck collar in order to help keep your neck stable.

You will be able to get out of bed within an hour or two after surgery and most patients return home from the hospital the day after surgery.

Full recovery, including the ability to drive and return to work, usually takes about a month.

After about a month, you will begin outpatient physical therapy in order to return to full function after foraminotomy surgery, which will include exercise and range of motion activities to assist with neck healing.

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