What is a Cervical Posterior Discectomy?
A cervical posterior discectomy, or posterior foraminodiscectomy, is a procedure that removes part of an inter-vertebral disc that has herniated postero-laterally or posteriorly, and is causing symptoms.
The discectomy aims to relieve pressure on the spinal nerve to then relieve the arm symptoms. It will not repair the disc, nor relieve the neck pain caused by the damaged disc. A disc can only heal over time by forming a scar. This operation also aims to improve nerve compression symptoms whilst maintaining stability and alignment.
While cervical disc hernias are common and often don’t cause any symptoms, an acute disc herniation may cause symptoms such as:
- Arm pain
- Pins and needles
The size of the herniation is not related to the amount of arm pain or symptoms. Usually these symptoms will improve without surgery in six to twelve weeks. If symptoms do not improve within 6-12 weeks using conservative treatments, surgery is considered.
If there is severe muscle weakness, or severe pain that is not controlled by strong pain relievers, Dr Parkinson may recommend immediate surgery to relieve the symptoms.
The goals of a cervical posterior discectomy are to remove the parts of the disc that are pressing on the spinal nerves, while maintaining spinal stability, motion and alignment. This should decrease arm pain, weakness and numbness.