This surgery is performed from the back of the neck and is used to treat nerve pain in the arm due to either disc protrusion or bony spurs. A couple of days in hospital are generally needed.
In theatre positioning of the head and neck is carefully attended to. X-ray is used to find the correct spinal level and a short incision is made. The foramen is a space between the bones at the back of the neck through which the involved nerve travels. A special cutting drill is used to remove bone and reveal the nerve in its foramen. An operating microscope is used to give a clear view of the nerve and gently remove the disc fragment or bone spurs from around it. Care is taken to make sure that there is no bleeding and the wound is sutured closed. Local anaesthetic is injected into the wound during closure to help with pain relief. This process takes about one hour.
A collar is not required. Walking is started the day after surgery. If there is pain across the shoulders it is treated with pain killers. Most people go home after a couple of days.