Over the past 20-30 years, anterior cervical approaches have been used to address and correct disc rupture and spinal cord compression. Whereas anterior procedures usually require fusion across the disc space, posterior cervical microforaminotomy does not.
In the posterior cervical approach a small incision is created adjacent to the operative level and the extensor muscles are dissected off of the involved unilateral or bilateral lamina. Microlaminectomy, foraminotomy and discectomy is then performed depencing on the clinical and radiographic presentation.
Fusion is not routinely performed and the patients are usually discharged the following morning. Patients maintain their full range of cervical mobility and may be at reduced risk of accellerated disc disease at adjacent spinal levels. This technique is most applicable for patients with predominantly arm pain and associated neurologic findings.