Decompression via microsurgical anterior foraminotomy for cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Technical note

J Neurosurg. 1997 Feb;86(2):297-302. doi: 10.3171/jns.1997.86.2.0297.


Over the past few years, a microsurgical anterior foraminotomy technique has been developed by the author and used to achieve spinal cord decompression for the treatment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy. A 5 x 8-mm unilateral anterior foraminotomy is accomplished by resecting the uncovertebral joint via an anterior approach. Through the foraminotomy hole, the posterior osteophytes at the spinal cord canal are removed diagonally up to the beginning of the contralateral nerve root. To treat multilevel disease, a tunnel is made among the foraminotomy holes. This technique accomplishes widening of the spinal cord canal in the transverse and longitudinal axes by direct resection of the compressive lesions through the holes of unilateral anterior foraminotomies; however, it does not require bone fusion or postoperative immobilization. Postoperatively patients remain in the hospital overnight, and do not need to wear cervical braces. This new surgical technique has shown excellent clinical outcomes with fast recovery and adequate anatomical decompression in patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy. The surgical technique is reported and illustrated by two of the author's cases.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Cervical Vertebrae / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Microsurgery / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscular Diseases / surgery*
  • Spinal Cord Compression / diagnosis
  • Spinal Cord Compression / etiology
  • Spinal Osteophytosis / complications
  • Spinal Osteophytosis / diagnosis
  • Spinal Osteophytosis / surgery*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed