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SpineAZ 02-29-2008 01:42 PM

Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy....experiences?
Hi all.

I had a C5-C7 ACDF 05/2006 and some nerve irritation has come back. I saw my spine surgeon today and he said I may want to consider CT and MRI to see if the nerve root may still be in some way compressed since my fusion looks fantastic and the pain is in the exact pattern as before (though thankfully no where near as bad as it was pre-surgery). If it is he reccomends a Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy.

After the ACDF I wore a neck brace for 6 weeks and returned to work and driving at 6 weeks post op. I'm looking for experiences with Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy. Overall recovery time/challenges and return to work thoughts.

skych 03-01-2008 08:45 AM

Re: Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy....experiences?
Hi there,

I had a psoteroir cervical laminotomy and foraminotomy on Jan the 8th of this year.

Things may a bit different for you as this was my first spinal surgery. I have not had any fusions or ADR's yet but I may need to have a fusion sometime.

I did not drive from Jan the 8th until about a week ago, becaue of the poor range of motion. I am sooo grateful to have that privelege back.. I live alone with no kids.
So I did stay at the hospital for 2-3 days and I only was given a soft collar to wear afterward. I still use it sometimes when I go out and about. That could vary considering you have the fusion not sure every doc is different and has their own way of doing things.

Now you need to take into consideration that this surgery for me was not to address all my problems and the NS specifically stated in his notes that in order to take care of some other problems in my cervical spine he would have to fuse me and chose not to at this time.

Anyway I am almost 2 months post op and I still have a lot of pain. But again everyone has their own way of judgeing their pain and I am real sensitive to pain. I still have huge flares which I am hoping will subside some now that I am on a LA med that I started on thursday.

Some of the symptoms have gone but and some where gone and came back. I truly believe that a great portion of the pain that I have is coming from the C 5-6 area which is what needs fusion. He did the foraminotomy at C 3-4 4-5.
That inscision in the back of my neck is about 4 inches long and they did shave some hair but it can not be seen, unless you already have real short hair.

I am becoming more active but I pay the price dearly with pain flares. The doctors at this time feel it is to soon to tell if the pain I am experiencing is from the issues that were not addressed or if it is leftover healing pain from my surgery. So more waiting.
In the meantime the NS referred me back to PM and suggested I have a facet bloc and rhizotomy so the PM and I are planning to see how I do with the new meds and in a couple weeks go for that procedure.

Please feel free to ask me more questions. I hope that you got some info from my post. I have been posting mostly in the PM forum but I do check here occasionally. I hope that what ever decision you make the out come is a good one.

SpineAZ 03-01-2008 08:00 PM

Re: Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy....experiences?
Thanks Chrissy. I thought I remembered you had a foraminotomy.

I'm willing to do the foraminotomy if it will help - I had the ACDF and that was a far less painful operation than a posterior one....but my surgeon says if we can locate the problem he'll go as minimally invasive as possible.

Right now I am hoping for a new job with more $$$. If I get it - I'll put off any surgery until at least 6-12 months from my new job start date. If they decide I'm not the right candidate then I'll begin pursuing possible foraminotomy.

If I do then the surgeon said he'll do a CT and MRI first to make sure he can locate the problem.

Has your range of motion improved? Was it just a post-surgery pain type of range of motion restriction? I'm lucky that I didn't loose much ROM in my ACDF so I'm hoping the foraminotomy doesn't lead to further decreases (permanent) in ROM.

I can work at home quite a bit - so I was hoping that maybe 2 weeks post surgery I coudl begin working at home some....but I'm not sure how the pain will be??

skych 03-02-2008 08:34 AM

Re: Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy....experiences?
Hey there,

That sounds like a good plan!

The problem with my pain is that I had two problems to be addressed and only one was addressed in the foraminotomy. The other thing the NS said needs an ADR or possible fusion. So right now None of the docs want to make an assessment of the situation. At this point they feel it is to early to do that because some or all of my pain could be from the the leftover surgery pain. Well excuse me but I know what pain was there before the surgery and some of it is still there and I believe it is coming from the things that were not addessed in the last surgery. Very confusing.
I am a student at the age of 38 and I am telling you that it is so hard some days to sit in the one class that I am taking. I am a pre-nursing student and could have applied to the nursing program this spring but I had to put it off now untill next year, (you can only apply in the spring of each year) because of my neck problems.
I wish I could work, but I just dont know how I could possibly do it if going out and doing daily activities causes me awful awful pain.
It is nice that you have it figured out and I hope that your issues will be resolved soon. Sorry about venting. I am very frustrated and want my life back.

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