Get answers to your Spine related questions.
Intervertebral foramina; Spine surgery - foraminotomy
Foraminotomy is surgery that widens the opening in your back where nerve roots leave your spinal canal. You may have a narrowing of the nerve opening (foraminal stenosis).
Foraminotomy takes pressure off of a nerve in your spinal column and allows it to move more easily. It may be performed on any level of the spine. You will be asleep and feel no pain (general anesthesia).
A bundle of nerves (nerve root) leaves your spinal cord through openings in your spinal column, called the neural foramen. When the openings for the nerve root become narrow, it may put pressure on your nerve. This condition is called foraminal spinal stenosis.
This surgery may be considered if you have severe symptoms that interfere with your daily life. Such symptoms include:
You will have an MRI to make sure foraminal stenosis is causing your symptoms.
You and your doctor can decide when you need to have surgery for these symptoms. Spinal stenosis symptoms often become worse over time, but this may happen very slowly.
Risks for any anesthesia are:
Risks for any surgery are:
Always tell your doctor or nurse what drugs you are taking, even drugs or herbs you bought without a prescription.
During the days before the surgery:
On the day of the surgery:
You will probably be wearing a soft neck collar afterwards if the surgery was on your neck. Most people are able to get out of bed and sit up within 2 hours after surgery. You will need to move your neck carefully.
You should be able to leave the hospital the day after the surgery. You should be able to drive within a week or 2 and get back to light work after 4 weeks.
Foraminotomy for spinal foraminal stenosis will often provide full or partial relief of symptoms.
Future spine problems are possible for all patients after spine surgery. If you had spinal fusion and laminectomy, the spinal column above and below the fusion are more likely to have problems in the future. Also, if you needed more than one kind of back surgery (such as foraminotomy and spinal fusion), you may have more of a chance of future problems.
Curlee PM. Other disorders of the spine. In: Canale ST, Beatty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 41.
Park AL. Lower back pain and disorders intervertebral discs. In: Canale ST, Beatty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 39.
Weinstein JN, Tosteson TD, Lurie JD,et al. Surgical versusnonoperative treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis four-year results of the Spine
Patient Outcomes Research Trial. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2010 Jun
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