Foraminotomy

What is a minimally invasive foraminotomy procedure?

A foraminotomy procedure is a minimally invasive decompression surgery that relieves the pain associated with foraminal stenosis. Your spine is made up of vertebrae stacked on top of each other. There are discs in between each vertebra to allow the spine to move freely without affecting the surrounding nerves. There is a small, narrow passageway on both sides of the vertebrae which allows the nerve roots to travel from the spinal cord to other areas of the body. This narrow passageway is called the foramina. When the foramina becomes narrowed due to a bulging disc or other spine conditions, foraminal stenosis occurs. Foraminal stenosis literally means the narrowing of the foraminal spine.

Since the foramina is the section of the spine that carries the nerve roots to other areas of the body, having a spine condition that obstructs one of those nerves can be extremely painful and debilitating. Our minimally invasive foraminotomy procedure removes whatever is compressing the nerve in your foramina to help you find relief from your chronic pain. The advancement of our minimally invasive techniques allows our surgeons to complete this procedure without affecting your surrounding muscles and compromising the stability of your spine.

Arm pain, numbness, or weakness is a common symptom of foraminal stenosis

What does a foraminotomy procedure entail?

A foraminotomy procedure is used to relieve pain associated with a compressed nerve in the spine.

Nerves in the spine can become compressed for several reasons. However, the symptoms of a compressed nerve in the spinal cord are often the same: local and radiating pain, tingling and numbness and weakness in the arm or leg. When left untreated, these symptoms can prevent you from enjoying the activities you love and ultimately lower your quality of life.

At Total Spine & Orthopedics, we understand the frustration of chronic neck or back pain due to a compressed nerve, especially when you are not finding relief in conservative treatments. Many of our patients endured this pain for several years before finding pain relief through our minimally invasive spine surgery. The goal of our minimally invasive procedures is not to temporarily treat the pain, but rather to treat the condition at its core so you can find lasting relief.

What symptoms can be relieved by a foraminotomy procedure?

Symptoms can vary depending on the individual, the reason for foraminal stenosis, and the severity of the condition. Generally speaking, these are the most common conditions relieved by our foraminotomy procedure:

  • Shooting pain — Since the passageway (foramina) that carries the nerve roots from the spine to other parts of the body is compressed, many patients experience shooting pain either in the shoulder and arm or in the buttock and leg. In very severe cases, the pain may reach the hand or the foot.
  • Numbness and stiffness — If the foraminal stenosis is found in the lower back, you may experience numbness and stiffness in your back and legs. This can increase when standing or sitting in the same position for too long.
  • Loss of bladder and/or bowel control — This symptom only occurs in very severe cases. If you are experiencing this symptom, seek medical help immediately.

What spine conditions can cause foraminal stenosis?

There are several reasons why the foraminal canal can narrow. Please click on the following links to learn more about the possible causes of foraminal stenosis:

  • Foraminal stenosis
  • Herniated disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Pinched nerve
  • Bone spurs
  • Arthritis of the spine
  • Sciatica

Not all symptoms occur in patients with foraminal stenosis. However, if you are experiencing these, or similar, symptoms, we encourage you to have your MRI reviewed by our team and speak with one of our Patient Advocates to help you find a treatment option for your spine condition. Contact us today if you would like to learn more about us or how we may be able to help you.

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