The surgical options for cervical radiculopathy can include an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, an anterior cervical disc replacement, or a minimally invasive posterior cervical foraminotomy. An anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is an operation that involves a small incision in the front of the neck, where the entire disc is removed and any pressure on the spinal cord or the nerve roots is also similarly removed. And the disc is replaced with a piece of donor bone, and that area then is then stabilized with a plate and some screws. A cervical disc replacement is an alternative to an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, where the disc is still entirely removed and any pressure on the spinal cord or the nerve roots is also removed. But the disc is then replaced with an artificial disc that’s designed to mimic the form and function of a spine’s natural disc. The advantage of a disc replacement compared to a fusion is preservation of the natural motion of the spine.
A posterior cervical foraminotomy is a minimally invasive procedure that involves removal of bone spurs and any other thing that’s compressing a nerve root as it’s leaving the cervical spine through its exit passageway or foramen. This procedure is usually done through a small, one-inch long incision on the back of the neck and is done under microscopic magnification where precision instruments are used to remove a small portion of the bony roof of the canal, and then remove any bone spurs or disc herniations that are causing pressure on the nerve. A posterior cervical foraminotomy is usually done as an outpatient procedure, where you come in in the morning, have the surgery done, and then leave a few hours later. And most patients notice immediate a very significant relief of radicular arm pain as a result of this.