How is the surgery done?
An incision is made at the back of the neck, and the muscles pulled to one side. The lamina (the "roof" of the spine) may be removed in order to decompress the spinal cord, or only the part of the lamina may be removed that is over the foramen where the nerve roots are being trapped. A foraminotomy, making more room for the nerve root, or a discectomy, removing protruding part of the disc or disc fragments, may be done to relieve pressure on a nerve. The muscles are released and the incision is closed.
The cervical spine begins at the base of the skull and supports the weight of the head. The spinal cord runs from the brain down through the cervical spine, controlling the function of the body's organs and limbs. In between each of the 7 vertebrae of the cervical spine are soft pads or discs which act as shock-absorbers and allow for bending and movement of the head. Each disc is made up of two parts, a soft center called the nucleus and a tough outer band called the annulus.