A cervical decompression, also called a laminotomy or foraminotomy is a minimally invasive technique of approaching the cervical spine from the back of your neck in order to address conditions like radiculopathy or pinched nerves. These sources of pain could be herniated discs, osteophytes (bone spurs), or other degenerative changes. The main indication for minimally invasive posterior cervical laminotomy/foraminotomy is shooting pain down the shoulder or arm caused by compression of a cervical nerve root in its channel to exit to the arm.
The most notable benefits of the procedure include the ability to perform it entirely through a small tube, minimizing tissue disruption, as well as its ability to preserve motion while still treating a pinched nerve. During the procedure a tube is docked at the level of interest and a small window in the bone is made under a microscope overlying the area of pinching. Precise instruments are then used to “unroof” the pinched nerve and make more space for it to exit the spine properly.
Watch the video below for a message from Dr. Ratnayake on the procedure.