SpineUniverse Case Study Library

C4-C7 Spondylosis with Foraminal Stenosis


The patient is 58-year-old female. She's right-hand dominant. She presented with a one-year history of progressively worsening right-sided neck and arm pain. The pain radiates down her right arm in a C6 dermatomal distribution. She has associated paresthesias in her thumb and index finger.


The patient is 5’5” and weighs 130 pounds. She has limited range of motion with extension and right lateral bending/rotation. She has a positive Spurling’s test to the right side.

Manual motor testing: 4/5 right bicep, tricep, and wrist extension/wrist flexion.

The patient has decreased sensation in a right C6 dermatomal distribution.

She has VAS scores of 8/10 for the right arm and 3/10 for the neck.

Prior Treatment

The patient has tried oral medications, physical therapy, and epidural steroid injections (ESIs). A right C5-C6 transforaminal ESI resulted in notable relief of right arm pain during the anesthetic phase.

Pre-treatment Images

 fig1 Roh 58yof Right-hand Dominant Pre-op Pain Diagram.jpgFigure 1: Patient-submitted pain diagram showing right arm pain, as well as right-sided neck pain


fig2 Roh 58yof Right-hand Dominant Pre-op AP Lat X-raysFigure 2: AP x-ray (left) and lateral x-ray (right)


fig3 Roh 58yof Right-hand Dominant Pre-op Oblique X-rayFigure 3: Right oblique x-ray showing right C4-C5, C5-C6, C6-C7


fig4 Roh 58yof Right-hand Dominant Pre-op Sag CTsFigure 4: Sagittal (left) and right sagittal CTs showing foraminal stenosis


fig5 Roh 58yof Right-hand Dominant Pre-op MRIsFigure 5: MRIs demonstrating foraminal stenosis at C4-C5 (left), C5-C6 (middle), and C6-C7 (right) 


The patient was diagnosed with C4-C7 spondylosis with foraminal stenosis.

Suggest Treatment

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Selected Treatment

The patient had MIS C4-C7 laminoforaminotomies.

Intraoperative Images


fig6 Roh 58yof Right-hand Dominant Intraop TargetingFigure 6: Intraoperative targeting at C5-C6


fig7 Roh 58yof Right-hand Dominant Intraop IncisionFigure 7: MIS laminoforaminotomies were done through a 1.5 cm posterior incision.


fig8 Roh 58yof Right-hand Dominant Intraop Nerve RootFigure 8: Intraoperative decompression showing C6 nerve root


The patient reported relief of her neck and arm pain

Case Discussion

This patient presents with a C6 radiculopathy recalcitrant to non-operative management. Imaging studies demonstrate substantial degenerative disease, regional kyphosis, and multilevel foraminal stenosis.

In treating this patient, the key issue is to determine what is causing her symptoms. Given the classic C6 radiculopathy presentation and response to nerve root block, a C5-C6 MIS foraminotomy would be a viable option.

In the setting of myelopathy or debilitating neck pain, consideration of a more aggressive multilevel reconstructive procedure would be reasonable. Since this patient did not have myelopathy or debilitating neck pain, then a focal decompression without destabilizing the spine makes sense.

Community Case Discussion (1 comment)

SpineUniverse invites spine professionals to share their thoughts on this case.

I am not entirely clear whether patient had C4-7 foraminotomy or just C6 foraminotomy. could someone clarify please.


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