A microlaminoforaminotomy is a minimally invasive spine procedure that allows surgeons to reduce the extent of damage and trauma to the musculature and tissues of the cervical spine. This improves recovery times and reduces complications significantly and makes it a preferred option in cases where disc herniation is apparent at a single level of the cervical spine. The ability to remove part of the disc only, rather than requiring total discectomy in order to allow fusion makes it a good option in order to retain vertebral height and some element for cushioning between the vertebrae. Laminectomy or anterior cervical discectomy often require spinal fusion in order to prevent kyphosis, or spinal curvature, from occurring after surgery.
Repairing other issues simultaneously
Surgeons will also have the ability through this technique to remove osteophyte growth int eh area being operated on, further reducing spinal stenosis. Decompression of the spine, occurs in the majority of patients, with significant reduction in radicular pain often experienced very quickly after surgery due to the relief of pressure on the cervical spinal nerves. Kunert (2010) reports complete or marked improvements in radicular pain in 95% of patients undergoing this procedure in one study, with similar results for neck pain (94%), sensory loss (82%), and motor deficit (78%). Encouragingly, the study also showed that no spinal instability occurred or the necessity for secondary surgery after an average of 22 months.
(Zeidman, 1993) considers the microlaminoforaminotomy procedure comparable, and in some cases preferable, to anterior cervical spinal surgeries. A study, by Adamson (2001), of 100 patients undergoing a microlaminoforaminotomy found that 97% of patients had good or excellent outcomes after the procedure, with all but one returning to work and previous levels of physical activity. In this study only two patients suffered a dural tear with one leading to infection which was successfully treated.
Microlaminoforaminotomy is advantageous because it can successfully decompress the cervical spine, reducing spinal stenosis, and does so whilst maintaining the segmental motion of the neck. There is a lower incidence of complication in the technique than for some other forms off conventional open spinal surgery, and the resumption of activities and reduction in pain is experienced much more promptly than with other procedures.