Since the 1950s this approach from the back side of the neck has been known and employed. It is an excellent alternative to the older conventional surgery from the front, because trauma is less and there is no need to remove the whole disc. So this approach is indicated in cases of laterally situated cervical disc herniations and bony narrowing of the neural channel (foramen).
I have a great deal of experience with this procedure having been doing it for more than 20 years. In cases of severe degeneration and foraminal stenosis I can operate on several levels. The operation usually lasts for 1 – 2 hours and is done under general anaesthesia. Post-operatively the patient wears a soft collar for the first 2 weeks. The stay in the clinic is between 3 and 5 days. Normally, radiating pain after surgery decreases very fast but numbness may persist for several months after surgery.
MRI demonstrating a foraminal stenosis preoperatively (arrows, left) and postoperatively (right)