Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy PCF

Posterior cervical foraminotomy is the surgical removal of a herniated disc in the neck through a posterior approach. The surgery is designed to relieve pressure involving a spinal nerve and alleviate corresponding pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling.

The advantage of a posterior cervical foraminotomy is that it avoids fusion, which is typically done when an anterior cervical discectomy is performed to treat the same problem.

Posterior cervical foraminotomy is not the best approach for all cervical disc herniations. However, when patients have lateral disc herniations or foraminal disc herniations, a posterior cervical foraminotomy can be an excellent and less invasive choice to relieve symptoms if surgery is required.

  • Posterior refers to the approach of the surgery which is done through the back
 of the neck as opposed to the front.
  • Cervical refers to the area of the spine for surgery which is the upper neck region.
  • Foraminotomy refers to creating a small hole in the cervical lamina to release the involved nerve root and to remove any associated disc herniation at the same level.

Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy Recovery

Patients may need 4-6 weeks to recover following posterior cervical foraminotomy surgery; however, recovery might last up to a year.

Patients are typically brought back for imaging to check spinal alignment, range of motion, and the healing of the incision site. Most people will go back to work one to two weeks following the treatment, but those who have labor-intensive occupations that require physical labor should take more time off. All patients are eligible to start working again after six weeks. At six weeks, the majority of patients no longer take any prescribed painkillers, but they may still need over-the-counter drugs occasionally. High impact sports are still not recommended.

Walking is recommended both right after surgery and throughout the duration of your recovery. After surgery, most patients may resume light housework or desk jobs within two to three weeks.