Clin Orthop Surg.  2022 Dec;14(4):539-547. 10.4055/cios22050.

Percutaneous Full-Endoscopic versus Biportal Endoscopic Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy for Unilateral Cervical Foraminal Disc Disease

  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Spine Center, Anam Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Spine Center, Kangnam Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 3Department of Neurosurgery, Spine Center, Yonsei Knee Spine Hospital, Seoul, Korea
  • 4Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Spine Center, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea


The biportal endoscopic technique (BE) is a fast-growing surgical modality that can be applied to posterior cervical foraminotomy (PCF), as well as lumbar discectomy and decompressive laminectomy. It has several technical differences from the percutaneous full-endoscopic technique (PE), which has been standardized as the representative endoscopic spinal surgery technique. The purpose of this study was to compare the short-term clinical outcomes between BE-PCF and PE-PCF.
A retrospective review was conducted on 66 patients who had single-level unilateral cervical foraminal disc disease (UCFD). All patients underwent PE- or BE-PCF. Clinical outcomes including visual analog scale (VAS)-arm, VAS-neck, and Neck Disability Index (NDI) were evaluated. Perioperative data including operation time, length of hospital stay (LOS), amount of surgical drain, postoperative complications, and reoperation were collected. Serum creatine phosphokinase (CPK) and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were recorded.
A total of 65 patients were included in the final analysis: 32 with PE-PCF and 33 with BE-PCF. There was no statistically significant difference in demographic and preoperative data between the two groups. All patients had significant improvement in VAS-arm, VAS-neck, and NDI compared to the baseline value. The improvement of all parameters was comparable between the two groups at each point for 1 year after surgery (p > 0.05), except for the significantly lower VAS-neck at postoperative 2 days in PE-PCF (p = 0.005). The total operation time was significantly shorter in BE-PCF (p = 0.036). There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups in regard to LOS, amount of surgical drain, and serum CPK and CRP levels (p > 0.05). Reoperation and complications between the two groups were comparable (p > 0.05).
The 1-year postoperative clinical outcomes of PE-PCF and BE-PCF for cervical pain and disability caused by UCFD were good and comparable. PE-PCF resulted in significantly less immediate postoperative neck pain, but BE-PCF required shorter total operation time.


Cervical radiculopathy; Unilateral cervical foraminal disc disease; Posterior cervical foraminotomy; Percutaneous fullendoscopy; Biportal endoscopy
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