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Cervical posterior foraminotomy

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,000
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:26 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I had the C6-C7 Cervical posterior foraminotomy done last week, since then, my left index finger is still quite numb, left arm that had severe pain is now just tender and aches, the upper back and neck are real sore yet. I have a soft collar, still taking percoset for pain. Anybody else have this?


(before surgery tried Mediol dose pack, Lyrica nerve med, cervical traction, Mc Kenzie excercises)


  • and the same reduced pain, spasms and numbness you are now feeling. I was told it would take several months for it to feel normal again because nerve damage takes a long time to heal.

    I just had an anterial C7 root foraminotomy done about 3 weeks ago and the same issues are present again (no fusion was done-it's called the Jho's Procedure and you can read about it more in my initial post to SH).

    The pain is reduced again, but since the nerve was damaged it will take time again to heal. I use a heating pad to reduce muscle spasms in my back, as well as valium and hydrocodone at night. In the daytime I want to drive now, so I use only tylenol-it helps a little-enough so I can keep my mind off the discomfort for a short time to get my chores done during this buy holiday season but by 3 pm I am ready for my pain meds. I cannot lift anything heavier than 8 pounds until I am released by the doctor. I'll see him Jan 14.

    The anterior foraminotomy was much more invasive and uncomfortable, but the surgeon said the bone spurs and herninated disk would be better accessed from the front, so I let him do it. The risks are greater in my opinion, but I had no choice-most neurosurgeons will say the front method is better than the back for most situations.

    I hope this operation will be my last! And I hope you make a full recovery and never need one again. Good luck!
  • First let me say welcome to spine-health. I had the posterior foramintomy done two years ago. Posterior surgery takes a bit longer to recovery from as the muscle in the backside of the neck is cut. What was the original issue that was to be corrected for this surgery? It does take sometime for the nerves to heal. Was the finger numb prior to surgery or a result of surgery? If the finger was numb prior to surgery, give it sometime to heal. Your surgery isn't that old yet and sometimes it takes the nerves longer to heal than the actual surgery itself. Anyway welcome to spine-health and keep us posted on how your getting along.
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  • Hi Ron...
    Welcome to Spine health!
    I was in a car accident in July of 2007 and was left with a neck injury afterward...

    January 8th, 2008 I had a 2 level posterior Cervical Foraminotomy at levels C 3-4 and C 4-5.

    I stayed I think 2 days in the Hospital, and when I came home I had a spft collar and was in a whole lot of pain. I also have a low tolerance to pain ...everyone is different there.

    Anyway...when they go through the posterior aspect of you neck to get to the spine, as tamtam already said...the surgeon really does have to cut through a lot of muscles and also move around a lot of musculature to get to the desired area....

    When the nerves have been compressed for a long long time it will take them a long whiel before they feel better after the decompression. Nerve regeneration is I think ( I am not a doc so this is all from things I have been told by my personal docs and surgeons) I think it is about 1/ inch to inc a month.
    I have hade many surgeries involving nerves, not just on my neck. Inmy experience and from what my sureongs have said and my PM doc...nerves after decompression can also get flared up and more PO'ed then before your surgery...

    When I had my foraminotomy I had some issues with beingable to life or hold a cup with my arm and hand...these symptoms went away about a week after surgery.

    The pain from the moving around and cutting of my muscles was very very painful and hard to deal with my case I also had some other things going on and the foraminotomy was done only to address part of my neck problems...

    This last september 3, I had a two level ACDF (anterior Cervical disecktomy with Fusion). The anterior approach for me was much less painful. But everyones body is different and as tamtam asked...what were the origanl pains before surgery and the reason for this foraminotomy???

    I was told after both surgeries to walk as much as possible...of course to strat out slowly, but after the foraminotomy it was very very painful and very difficult to get moving because it would cause me such great pain...

    Time, I hope will be the healing factor for you! In a few weeks you will most likely be feeling a bit better.
    Oh...also the foraminotomy really zapped my energy levels...I was very fatigues for quite a few weeks afterward, but like Isaid above...I had other things wrong in my neck, and I am not a doc, but will be more than happy to support you throughout your journey!
    Please feel free to PM me for some extra support if you like!
    Everday is a new day and just go with the flow and follow your docs orders and don't overdo it!!
  • tamtam,
    I'm two weeks out today! Feeling 100% better today. My incision is still leaking a tiny bit but no infection, pretty sore yet but I'm nearly ready to finally quit the percocet, try Tylenol? I had severe arm pain and shoulder pain for 2 months straight, actually the shoulder and neck was bothering me for 6 months before the arm started throbbing, I still have the numbness in the left index finger and have had it since early October. I did not have any incident to cause this during the Fall of the year so my surgeon is still scratching his head, I did have a few accidents in the Spring of 2008 which I feel strongly caused this to start. The Surgeon found two large bone ships during the surgery so I think that supports what I feel was an injury caused this to happen and just took a while to pinch the nerve bad enough for me to seek help. The main thing is I feel so much better, thanks and good luck to you too!
  • I am so glad to see others here talking about there posterior surgeries. I have had several surgeries over the last 5 years and it just seems never ending. On November 17, 2008 I had posterier surgery it was a double fusion on c5-c7 using my hip bone. The hip has never bothered me but now after 6 weeks post op I still can't set or stand for long periods of time it feels as if my head is going to pop off from the pressure on my lower neck and runs to my head. I want to be off the percocet so bad and I try and wait as long as I can in the day to have to take them I have cut them back to 4 a day. I have been able to cut the flexiril back to 1-2 a day the muscles are finally getting better. I also have been zapped since this particular surgery and I don't know what to due to pick up my energy level I am resticted to only medication my doctor prescribes whether it's a script or over the counter. he is afraid that since I have had 2 failed neck surgeries that I and he needs to be extra careful. I am open to suggestions from what others have tried and done to feel better I go see my doctor next friday the 9th and want and need questions to ask him about what next! I have made a resolution <:P for the new year to have no more surgeries but life is like a box of chocolates you never know what your going to get 8}
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