If you suffer from neck pain, stiffness, worsening mobility or migraines, chances are you’ve tried every kind of conservative treatment to relieve the pain. You know that something serious is wrong, but you may have been hesitant to consider surgical options. There is, however, a minimally invasive procedure that can bring you significant relief. And when performed by an expert at NU-Spine in Edison, New Jersey, risks are practically nonexistent. Dr. Branko Skovrlj is a renowned spine surgeon and founder of NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute. He can change your life in a few hours. Call today for an appointment.
What Is an Endoscopic Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy/Discectomy?
Endoscopic posterior cervical foraminotomy/discectomy actually refers to two different simple procedures that can bring you relief for similar problems. Broken down, the process is more clearly defined:
- Endoscopic means that the procedure is done using an endoscope, which is a small tube with a camera and small tools attached. It’s inserted into a small incision to perform the surgery. Endoscopes play a huge role in minimally invasive spine surgery, as they allow your specialist to use tiny tools while watching what they’re doing on a computer monitor.
- Posterior and cervical just mean that the incision is made on the back or posterior of your neck, which is the cervical section of your spine.
- A foramen is a hole in a vertebral bone where nerves branch off from your spinal cord.
- A foraminotomy is used to widen this whole if it gets too narrow and pinches the nerve.
- A discectomy refers to the removal of part of one of the discs that sits between your vertebrae. These discs contain jelly-like material that provides padding between the bones of your spine.
Dr. Branko Skovrlj is a firm believer in the power of minimally invasive surgery to provide you with permanent relief from back pain in any form. At NU-Spine in Edison New Jersey, the spine surgeon performs a full assessment of your symptoms before recommending the best procedure to bring you the fastest and longest-lasting relief.
Why Get an Endoscopic Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy/Discectomy?
Most back pain and neck pain comes from nerves in your spine getting compressed, pinched or twisted. They send pain signals to your brain to let you know they’re in trouble. These structural problems also make mobility more difficult. In addition to pain, compressed nerves also can result in symptoms such as:
- Decreased mobility
- Muscle spasms
- Tingling and weakness
- Nerve damage
- Coordination problems
- Balance problems
When you first experience symptoms of pain and stiffness in your neck, you may try conservative treatments like physical therapy or heat and ice. But when these treatments fail to produce lasting relief, it’s time to consider surgical options. Fortunately, in northern New Jersey, you have an expert in nearby Edison: Dr. Skovrlj.
What Can Be Fixed with an Endoscopic Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy/Discectomy?
An endoscopic posterior cervical foraminotomy/discectomy is an ideal procedure for many spinal disorders. Once your spine surgeon confirms the source of your pain and immobility, he can repair the damage. Conditions successfully treated with this two-part procedure include:
- Cervical degenerative disc disease. The discs between your cervical vertebrae can deteriorate over time, and this leads to nerve pain and vertebrae scraping against each other.
- Cervical disc herniation. This condition is a prime candidate for endoscopic posterior cervical discectomy. A cervical disc herniation occurs when one of your discs begins to deform and protrude outward, often pressing on a nerve and causing severe pain.
- Cervical slipped or bulging disc. With symptoms very similar to a herniated disc, a bulging disc results in prolapse that’s best treated with an endoscopic posterior cervical discectomy.
- Cervical radiculopathy. This condition results when a nerve is pinched or compressed where it branches off from the spinal cord. While endoscopic posterior cervical discectomy is a traditional surgical choice, foraminotomy has been used recently with significant results.
- Cervical stenosis. This is a painful condition in which your neck’s spinal canal narrows, compressing on your spinal cord. Endoscopic posterior cervical foraminotomy is the prime treatment for cervical stenosis, since it widens the foramens and other areas where nerves travel.
- Cervical myelopathy. This is a dangerous condition that can lead to permanent nerve damage if left untreated. When your spinal cord is compressed, it’s best to rely on an experienced surgeon to perform the procedure that releases the nerves without damaging the delicate surrounding spinal cord.
How Does the Procedure Work?
You undergo general anesthesia for the double procedure. It usually takes between one and two hours to complete. Because your New Jersey neurosurgeon prefers minimally invasive techniques, you should be able to go home the same day, after a short recovery period. Once you’ve been properly placed on the surgical table:
- A small incision is made on the back of your neck to allow the doctor to access the problem disc.
- The endoscope is inserted into the incision.
- A small hole is made on the facet joint where the nerves are located.
- The protruding bone fragment that’s pressing against the nerve and causing you pain is then removed.
- The incision is closed with a few stiches or staples.
Once the procedure is over, you’ll spend a couple hours in the recovery room before you’re released to a driver to take you home. You may need prescribed pain relievers for a day or two. Even though both procedures require that you put off heavy lifting and strenuous physical work for a few weeks, you’re encouraged to start walking and following a prescribed physical therapy routine right away.
You’ll follow up at NU-Spine about a week after the surgery to make sure everything is healing properly. Dr. Skovrlj always makes sure that your surgery and recovery go smoothly, with no complications. Contact NU-Spine today to begin your road to pain-free living.Page Updated on Jul 9, 2021 by Dr. Branko Skovrlj (Neurosurgeon / Spine surgeon) of NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute in New Jersey