Cervical foraminotomy is a surgical procedure done to relieve the symptoms of a pinched nerve by enlarging the neural foramen, and it can be performed in a minimally invasive way.
The neural foramen is an opening where nerve roots exit the spine and travel throughout the body. It creates a protective passageway for nerves that carry signals between the spinal cord and the rest of the body. A cervical foraminotomy is a surgical procedure that is done to enlarge that passageway.
Traditional, open spine surgery involves cutting or stripping the muscles from the spine. Today, a cervical foraminotomy may be performed using a minimally invasive procedure that allows your spine surgeon to separate the fibers of the muscles surrounding the spine rather than cutting and stripping the muscles away from the spine.
Why is it done?
A pinched nerve in the neck can cause neck pain, stiffness, and pain radiating into the shoulder, arm, and hand, as well as numbness, tingling and/or weakness in the arm and hand.
Herniated discs, bone spurs and thickened ligaments or joints can all cause narrowing of the neural foramen and cause painful symptoms. Patients who do not improve with conservative treatment may be candidates for surgery.