Cervical lamino-foraminotomy, also called posterior discectomy, is a surgical technique that offers a high success rate for reducing arm pain (radiculopathy). In cervical lamino-foraminotomy, arthritic bone spurs and herniated discs that are compressing the spinal nerve are removed from a posterior approach (back of spine). The procedure can be performed using open or minimally invasive techniques.
In an innovative minimally invasive technique used at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush Minimally Invasive Spine Institute, Dr. Kern Singh or Dr. Frank Phillips performs the procedure through a tiny incision using a tubular system and decreasing tissue damage and pain while allowing for faster recovery than in open spinal surgery.
During the procedure, the patient lies on his or her stomach, also called a posterior approach. The surgeon makes a 1-2 cm incision on one side of the neck. By using specialized instruments and working down a 16mm diameter tube, a small amount of bone overlying the involved nerve is shaved down and removed (laminotomy). Removing this allows the surgeon better access to the damaged nerve. The surgeon then performs a procedure called a foraminotomy under the microscope. The foramen is an opening or "window" into a bone on both sides of each vertebra. Spinal nerves pass through these "windows." In a foraminotomy, the surgeon removes bone spurs near where the nerves come through the hole of the spine bone. Often times a microdiscectomy is also performed at the same time as a foraminotomy. A microdiscectomy removes any part of a herniated disc that's pressing on the nerves. Patients are typically discharged home within a few hours of this procedure.