Guide to Advanced Surgery for The Spine
Our highly regarded medical staff from the Marina Spine Center can provide you with the best minimally invasive options.
One of these options is the cervical foraminotomy performed by our excellent team of surgeons here at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital. Due to our state-of-the-art technologies, this type of surgery guarantees a significant reduction in pain, weakness and other symptoms related to a cervical disc herniation.
Your spine has three main parts. First, there are the nerve roots and spinal cord, which carry sensory information throughout the body and command for your muscles to move. Then, there are the vertebrae, which are bones that encase and protect the nerve roots and spinal cord. Between one vertebra and the next, there are discs of softer tissue that act as cushions.
The nerve roots pass out of the spine to the body through cavities in the vertebrae called the foramen. Sometimes, a disc in the neck will "slip" out of position, intrude into the foramen, and press against a nerve root. This can cause pain, weakness, numbness, and other symptoms, and it must be surgically treated.
Cervical foraminotomy is when a surgeon goes into the vertebra to cut away bulging disc tissue and, if necessary, remove bone spurs in the foramen. It is a less-invasive alternative to discectomy (removal of the disc) and spinal fusion (the permanent joining of two vertebrae to increase stability) for some patients.
First, you are placed under general anesthesia. This means you're unconscious and won't feel or be aware of what's going on during the procedure. You will be lying face-down so the surgeon can operate from your back side.
The surgeon will perform the operation through a small incision rather than a large opening. Guided by a small scope connected to a monitor, the surgeon will enter the foramen with surgical tools. By very carefully removing the part of the disc that has slipped out of place and scraping any bone spurs that may have developed, the surgeon will remove pressure on the nerve root. This should relieve pain and other symptoms soon after you exit surgery and regain consciousness.
After foraminotomy, most patients have a significant reduction in pain, weakness numbness, and other symptoms as a result of cervical disc herniation strong.
The procedure can improve patient quality of life in several ways:
- Activities that were enjoyed before symptoms commenced may be resumed
- Day-to-day comfort will likely be higher
- Productivity at work may increase
- Knock-on effects of pain—sleep disruptions, distraction, etc.—may decrease
Individual patients report individual experiences, but a large majority of patients who qualify for cervical foraminotomy say their quality of life is better after recovery.
After foraminotomy, you will likely be able to sit up and get out of bed within several hours. You will probably stay overnight and leave the hospital the next day, and your doctor may give you a soft collar to wear so you don't disturb the healing process. A week or two later, you should be able to drive again; four weeks later, you will likely be able to do light work again.
In any surgery, there are risks, including bleeding, infection, and lack of results. With spine surgery, there is also the chance of nerve damage, as well as the chance that symptoms may come back in the future.
Sometimes, more than one procedure has to be done at the same time as foraminotomy. This can increase the risk that you will experience negative effects.