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I just got back from the doctor’s and he said I will probably need a posterior cervical foraminotomy. He said my disc is herniated laterally to the right, and he thinks he can resolve my numbness and weakness with this procedure. He said he will cut a hole in the bone that will give the pinched nerve some more room and that this will not involve a fusion and he will only have to remove a portion of my disc if any. I would like to know what the recovery time is like. And how long before you can go back to work? Do I have to wear collar? Any information about period of post-posterior cervical foraminotomy will be great. Thank you

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Most of the patients after foraminotomy surgery are usually able to get out of bed within few hours. Your surgeon may have you wear a soft neck collar, but if not, you will be instructed to move your neck only carefully and comfortably. You would probably leave the hospital the day after surgery and be safe to drive within a week or two. People generally get back to light work by four weeks. Rehabilitation after foraminotomy surgery is generally needed for a short period of time, so you will probably need to attend therapy sessions for two to four weeks. You should expect full recovery to take up to three months.
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I am 53 and went thru posterior cervical foraminotomy 4 weeks ago.
As per doctor, surgery went well but I still have lot of pain on my left
arm same level as before the surgery.
I have started seeing PT but it is NOT helping me yet.
Upon reading this site I noticed people have similiar experience.
I have lot of questions:

How long we have to suffer this pain?
If the pain still exists why we have to go thru surgery?

I really hope this pain will go away. I read somewhere it will take 2-3
months. I intend to see PT every other day to see if this pain goes away

Ash
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I'm 57 and going to have the same surgery. I have had 2 cervical surgerys already. One in 1999 and the other in 2007. Now they are telling me I need another, foraminotomy. When does this stop? My Doctor never said anything about PT. I'm about ready to give up, but I won't. My med's are Lyrica and Vicoden. The Lyrica was the best medication I have had. Allows me to get a good nites sleep
In regards to your question, every case is different. I wish you the best of luck. You really should ask your Doctor about Lyrica. I did find out the better sleep you get, the better you can manage the pain.
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I'm 28 and just had a minimally invasive posterior cervical foraminotomy (covered by blue cross HMO) only eight days ago with great success! The minimally invasive procedure goes in through a 22mm tube vs a 3-4 inch incision, so there is much less muscle bruising and scar tissue than the old procedure. Immediately after my surgery the pain, numbness and tingling in my upper left arm from the herniated disc at C5/6 went away, and the pain got less and less daily to the point that I am fully off of pain killers (they gave me lortab 5's) within one week.

The only pain still felt is the parts of the muscles in my left arm that weren't getting nerve signal when the nerve root was blocked hurting from having not worked in the last couple months before the surgery, and just feels like I got punched in the arm and the muscles are bruised, but not even all the time. Mainly when I am going to sleep thus laying on that arm, or cough. I'm going kayaking this weekend to start building the muscles back up and don't anticipate any problems at all. ;-)
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Hi! Have posted on here since my cervical posterior foraminotomy/laminectomy on march 30, 2012. My surgeon said the neck is unstable, but that a fusion wouldn't have worked. Since the bone spur will regrow, this surgery will have to be repeated in 5 yrs.  Wondering now about the holes in skull from the Mayfield head holder.  With stitches,  the holes have healed over, but underneath, the skull is soft, with an indent.  Does anyone know if the skull ever "grows" back, or hardens?Also,  it is now 5 weeks post op and for the past three days am having upper arm pain, which physical therapy eliminated weeks before surgery. Wonder why it's comming back now?? Any feedback would be appreceiated.
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Going to have a cervical posterior foraminotomy in a few weeks. How was your post op recovery? I am dreading the thought of that Mayfield head holder. Seems so archaic and painful. I am just really nervous about the whole thing. Hope your surgery went well and you are fully recovered.
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anyone still having unstableness in neck after posterior cervical laminectomy? Surgery was in March 2012 and tonight I'm wearing the soft collar as there's fatigue and some beginning pain.
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I AM 59 ABOUT TO HAVE THIS SURGERY TUES FEB 5TH DOES ANYONE HAVE KNOWLEDGE AS TO WALKING MY 2 LITTLE DOGS DOWN AND BACK UP THE STAIRS?
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Did you have your surgery? What level did you have done and how was the recovery? I am going to have a minimally invasive posterior foraminotomy at C6-7 soon.
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I had this surgery five months ago and still having problems with my neck pain numbness down the arm tingling swelling in my left shoulder near my incision had p.t. Did not work well no strength in my left hand. Still have not went to work for the pain I have to lift patients I do not want my neck to be any worse hope your surgery goes better than mine but I must say the pain I started with was the worst
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I had the same surgery December 19th and what a mistake.  I still have unbearable pain in on my right side right down to the fingers.  I used a well known doctor from NYU and he assured me this was the route to go.  Even after consulting 2 other doctors in NY who said I needed the ACDF.  I was afraid at the time and went the less evassive route and regret every minute.  I have been going to Physical Therapy Since January 3x a week and even have to cancel apt's because the pain and dont want anyone to touch me.  Just dont get it and afraid whats in store for me. 

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I am a doctor and was suffering from severe cervical radiculopathy with the majority of the pain in my left scapula and radiating down my arm. It was at the point where my triceps on the left were getting weak. Conservative care including epidurals and PT provided no relief. I went to a well known orthopedic spine surgeon who spent 30 seconds with me and wanted to perform an anterior fusion at two levels. I then went to a neurosurgeon who gave me other options including a posterior foraminotmy. I did my research in the medical literature and when performed for the right indications, the foraminotmy success rate is about 95%. I had a 3 level (C6,7,8) posterior foraminotmy via open incision. I left the hospital that that evening even though I was given the option to stay the night. I perform surgery in a very busy practice and returned to work in 13 days and performed surgery today, 15 days post op. My pre op symptoms have significantly resolved, but there is definite neck and back pain from cutting those muscles. I'm uncomfortable but I'm dealing with it and would ranted work than sit home. Yes, I'm probably overdoing it and I am sore, but that beats sitting around getting stiff. I took at least a a mile walk within 2 days post op to keep things moving. So the bottom line is that statistically, foraminotmy is very successful when utilized for the correct patient and indications. If anyone lives in the Philadelphia area, I highly recommend James Harrop, MD in the Dept of neurosurgery at Jefferson University Hospital.
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I am post-op two months cervical foraminotomy c-2 through c-4 with three inch incision in back of neck. The surgury went great but still experience some bad pain in the muscles that were cut. Al other pain I had prior to surgery is gone. The muscle pain I have now is worst than the muscle pain I had with low back fusion 16 years ago. My doctor who is the best told me to be patient about the muscle pain. Cant wait for thie to get better. the muscle pain stinks. Can anyone tell me how long this lasted for them.
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I had a cx foraminotomy 5 months ago and my neck pain has gotten worse. I have little movement and awful pain when looking down. Post op was a nightmare as I had to walk completely tilted back as the pain was so severe. Now I wake up every morning with my left arm frozen like an ice cube. Had I known this would turn out worse than when I started, I would have left it as is.
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