Foraminotomy: A Minimally Invasive Procedure to Relieve Nerve Compression

Foraminotomy is a minimally invasive spinal surgical procedure that is performed to relieve nerve compression in the spine. This procedure involves removing a portion of bone or tissue that is compressing the nerve root as it exits the spinal canal through an opening called the foramen. Foraminotomy is often used to treat conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease.

Indications for Foraminotomy

Foraminotomy is typically recommended for patients who experience symptoms such as:

  • Lower Back Pain
  • Leg Pain
  • Weakness, Numbness, or Tingling.

These symptoms are often caused by nerve compression due to conditions such as herniated discs or spinal stenosis. Foraminotomy can help to relieve the pressure on the nerve root and reduce or eliminate these symptoms.

Preparation for Surgery

Before undergoing foraminotomy surgery, patients will need to undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation, including a physical exam, imaging tests, and blood work. Patients may also need to stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, before the surgery. In addition, patients will need to follow specific instructions regarding food and drink intake before the surgery.

The Procedure

Foraminotomy surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia or with a local anesthetic and sedation. The procedure involves making a small incision in the skin over the affected area of the spine. Using specialized instruments, the surgeon removes a portion of bone or tissue that is compressing the nerve root as it exits the spinal canal. The incision is then closed using sutures or staples.

Recovery from Surgery

After foraminotomy surgery, patients can typically go home the same day or after a short stay in the hospital. Recovery time is relatively quick, with most patients able to return to normal activities within a few weeks. Patients will need to attend physical therapy sessions to help regain strength and mobility in the affected area.

Risks and Complications

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks and potential complications associated with foraminotomy surgery. However, serious complications are rare, and the vast majority of patients experience a successful outcome following the surgery. Risks may include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Nerve or Spinal Cord Injury
  • Blood Clots
  • Adjacent Level Degeneration
  • Failed Back Syndrome
  • Recurrence of Herniated Disc