Open Cervical Foraminotomy

WHAT IS IT? 

An open cervical foraminotomy is a surgical procedure performed in the neck region. It is done to relieve neck pain caused by the compression of cervical nerve roots exiting through the foramen. The foramen is an anatomical opening where spinal nerve roots exit laterally from the spinal canal. The goal is to widen the opening by removing any bone or disk material causing cervical nerve root impingement. Two common causes of cervical nerve root compression are bone spurs and/or herniated disks. Patients with bones spurs and/or herniated disks normally experience symptoms of neck pain, shoulder pain and weakness, numbness and tingling in the arms and hands.

HOW IS THE PROCEDURE PERFORMED? 

The patient will be placed under general anesthesia before surgery begins. A midline incision will be made posteriorly at the diseased vertebral level in the neck region. Tissue and muscle will be retracted using a retractor and maybe dissected to expose the vertebral bones at the neck. A section of the posterior arch of the spine will be removed to expose the pathological site. Thickened ligament, bone spurs and herniated disc material will be removed using appropriate instrumentation. The surgeon will ensure that the opening for the cervical nerve roots is decent before removing the retractor and closing the incision with staple stitches and/or medical glue.