Spinal cord decompression via microsurgical anterior foraminotomy for spondylotic cervical myelopathy

Minim Invasive Neurosurg. 1997 Dec;40(4):124-9. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1053432.


A microsurgical anterior foraminotomy, as a direct decompressive and motion-segment preserving technique, has been developed by the author and used successfully in many patients with spondylotic cervical radiculopathy for the past several years. From the author's increasing experience with anterior foraminotomy for cervical radiculopathy, it was noted that the spinal cord canal could be effectively decompressed utilizing the holes of anterior foraminotomy. This new technique accomplishes widening of the spinal cord canal anteriorly to the spinal cord in the transverse and longitudinal axis by direct removal of the compressive lesions through the holes of unilateral anterior foraminotomies. This technique does not require bone fusion or postoperative immobilization. 14 patients with spondylotic cervical myelopathy have been treated by this technique. 9 were males and 5 were females, and all presented with cervical myelopathy with or without radiculopathy. Age ranged from 32 to 68 years (median 55 years). 6 patients had spinal cord compression at one level, six patients experienced it at two levels, and two patients had it at three levels. Postoperatively, all patients showed improvement in their myelopathic symptomatology as well as gaining relief of their radicular symptoms. Corresponding MR scans confirmed satisfactory anatomical decompression in all patients. Postoperative dynamic roentgenograms confirmed spinal stability in all patients as well. Patients stayed in the hospital overnight postoperatively, and cervical braces were not used. This new surgical technique has shown excellent clinical outcomes with fast recovery and adequate anatomical decompression in 14 patients with spondylotic cervical myelopathy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Decompression, Surgical / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microsurgery / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neck
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / surgery
  • Spinal Canal / surgery*
  • Spinal Cord
  • Spinal Cord Compression / complications
  • Spinal Nerves*
  • Spinal Osteophytosis / complications*
  • Treatment Outcome