Cervical Foraminotomy Surgery For Arm Pain Relief | Spine Health Cervical foraminotomy that relieves arm pain caused by nerve pressure in the spinal canal is a procedure performed at the KBNI.

Cervical Foraminotomy Surgery

For Arm Pain Relief

Cervical foraminotomy that relieves arm pain caused by nerve pressure in the spinal canal is a procedure performed at the KBNI.

A cervical foraminotomy is a procedure performed to relieve pressure upon a nerve as it exits in the spinal canal. Nerves leave the spinal canal through small openings called foramen. These nerves can be compressed within the foramen as a result of a disc protrusion, bone spur or thickened ligament. The patient will experience pain traveling down the arm in the distribution of the compressed nerve root.


Reasons to Have Cervical Foraminotomy Surgery

This surgery is generally performed to relieve arm pain.

Description of Procedure

Before the operation begins, the anesthesiologist will put the patient to sleep. The patient will then be turned on to their stomach in the operating room. This is done in an extremely careful manner to protect all pressure points. The head is placed in a special fixation device.

After the appropriate antibiotics are given, x-ray may be used to guide the placement of the incision. The incision is performed in the midline on the back of the neck. The lamina or roof of the spinal canal is exposed and the surgeon then removes a small portion while visualizing it under the microscope.  Either disc or bone spur are removed to decompress the spinal nerve as it leaves the neural foramen. Micro-instruments are used to make sure that the nerves are completely free. After this is done, the wound is irrigated with an antibiotic solution and closed.

Postoperative Care

Patients are generally discharged home the day of or the day following surgery. The pain in the arm is typically significantly improved although the patient may experience numbness in the arm, twinges of arm pain, pain around the incision and, at times, spasms of the neck muscles. Medications will be given for this and should improve within one to two weeks after surgery.

Patients should keep their back incisions dry until they are seen in the office generally seven to ten days after surgery. They should try to avoid any bending, lifting or twisting for four to six weeks. Depending upon the type of work they do for a living and how strenuous their job requirements are, they may return to work within two to four weeks with some temporary restrictions.


Risks of the surgery are generally low. Potential risks include bleeding, infection, nerve injury, spinal cord injury, spinal fluid leak and recurrence of another disc herniation at the same level.


For more information on the Cervical Foraminotomy or for a consultation at the Kraus Back and Neck Institute please call:

281.44.NEURO (281.446.3876)