At the spot where your nerves exit the spine and travel throughout the body can be found the neural foramen. This passageway protects nerves responsible for transmitting signals throughout the body and back through the spinal cord. When the size of this channel has been reduced, a cervical foraminotomy is sometimes necessary to enlarge the passageway again. This is accomplished through the careful separation of the muscle fibers around the spine to provide access to the treatment area. Unlike traditional surgical approaches, this protects the muscle and speeds the recovery process.
When Is This Procedure Required?
Herniated discs, thickened ligaments and joints, bone spurs, and other medical conditions can cause the neural foramen to contract and apply pressure to the spinal nerves. This can result in numbness, tingling, weakness, stiffness, and neck pain. In certain cases, these symptoms can radiate down through the arm to the hand. When non-surgical approaches have failed to provide relief from these symptoms, a cervical foraminotomy may be called for.
What Should I Expect During This Procedure?
The procedure will begin with you positioned on your stomach, after which you will receive general anesthesia to ensure you’re unconscious throughout the procedure. Dr. Czerwein will then make an incision on the side of your back, experiencing symptoms, and will gently separate the neck muscles with a tubular retractor. The necessary disc, bone, or ligament material will be removed to release the pressure on your nerves that’s causing the symptoms. The incision will then be closed, which may result in some minor scarring.
What Should I Expect After The Procedure?
As part of the minimally invasive nature of the procedure, the majority of patients will be able to leave the treatment location on the day of the procedure. In some cases, a longer stay may be required. Details like these will be discussed with you by Dr. Czerwein as the date of your procedure draws near. You can have an immediate improvement in your level of pain, or the symptoms may improve over the passage of time. Either way, it’s essential that you follow your post-operative instructions if you want to experience the best possible results from your recovery. You can typically expect to return to your favorite activities in just a few weeks after the procedure. A longer recovery time may be necessary depending on the nature of your work, recreational activities, and the general rate of healing.
When you’re having delicate surgical procedures performed, you want to rely on the expertise of a specialist like Dr. John Czerwein. Patients know they can rely on our office to provide exceptional orthopedic surgery care from our team. Conditions treatable with cervical foraminotomy will only worsen in time if not treated and can severely impact your quality of life. When all non-surgical options have been tried, it’s time to reach out to Dr. John Czerwein and see how orthopedic surgical options can restore mobility, reduce pain, and let you enjoy more of your favorite activities again. We look forward to seeing you soon!