Posterior cervical foraminotomy. A follow-up study of 67 surgically treated patients with compressive radiculopathy
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- Witzmann, A., Hejazi, N. & Krasznai, L. Neurosurg Rev (2000) 23: 213. doi:10.1007/PL00011957
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A retrospective study was conducted on 67 patients undergoing posterior cervical foraminotomy (PCF) for unilateral intraforaminal soft and hard disc disease. Neurologic impairment, employment, and severity of associated signs were assessed preoperatively and at a 3.1-year average follow-up (range, 1.5–7 years). Diminution or complete disappearance of radicular symptoms was observed in 62 cases (93%), 3 months to 3 years after surgery. Minimal neurologic deficits persisted in 5 cases (7%). Neck pain improved in 62 cases, remained unchanged in three, and progressed in two cases with severe preoperative deficits. Fifty-three patients (79%) returned to their previous occupation; only seven (10%) retired prematurely on the basis of disc disease alone. Based on Prolo’s functional economic outcome rating scale, 60 patients (90%) showed excellent economic outcome. Posterior cervical foraminotomy is an efficient means of decompressing lateral spinal roots compromised by soft disk herniations or osteophytic spurs, without the risk of an anterior approach with or without fusion. Careful patient selection and microsurgical technique are essential in obtaining consistent, excellent results. Additionally, the recent trend toward minimally invasive techniques and key-hole operations in neurosurgery and other specialisations favours the posterior approach.