What is a cervical foraminotomy?
A Cervical Foraminotomy is performed to relieve cervical spinal nerve compression.
An X-ray is taken during surgery and used to confirm the correct level of surgery.
A cut is made in the back of the neck.
A small amount of bone and ligament is removed from the spine to gain access to the nerves of the spine.
The structures which are compressing the nerve are removed to create space around the affected nerve.
The cut will be closed with stitches.
This procedure will require a General Anaesthetic.
See About your Anaesthetic information sheet for information about the anaesthetic and the risks involved. If you have any concerns, talk these over with your doctor.
If you have not been given an information sheet, please ask for one.
What are the risks of this specific procedure?
There are some risks/complications with this procedure.
Common risks include:
- Infection. This may need antibiotics and further treatment.
- Minor pain, bruising and/or infection from IV cannula site. This may require treatment with antibiotics.
- Bleeding. A return to the operating room for further surgery may be required if bleeding occurs. Bleeding is more common if you have been taking blood thinning drugs such as Warfarin, Asprin, Clopidogrel (Plavix or Iscover) or Dipyridamole (Persantin or Asasantin).
- Small areas of the lung may collapse, increasing the risk of chest infection. This may need antibiotics and physiotherapy.
- Increase risk in obese people of wound infection, chest infection, heart and lung complications, and thrombosis.
Uncommon risks include:
- A heart attack because of the strain on the heart.
- Stroke or stroke like complications can occur which can cause weakness in the face, arms and legs. This could be temporary or permanent.
- Clots in the leg (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) with pain and swelling. Rarely part of this clot may break off and go into the lungs.
- Leakage of cerebrospinal fluid. This may need further surgery.
- No improvement in symptoms or worsening of symptoms.
- Ongoing persistent neck and arm pain.
- Nerve root injury. This may be temporary or permanent.
- Visual complications. This may be temporary or permanent.
Rare risks include:
- Weakness or new sensory symptoms in the arm/s. This may be temporary or permanent.
- Quadriplegia. This may be temporary or permanent.
- Death is very rare due to this procedure.