Foraminotomy is a surgical procedure that is done to treat foraminal stenosis. It is designed to relieve pressure on the nerves due to the constriction of the foramen, also known as the foraminal canal.
The foramen can narrow for a number of reasons and in turn, pinch the nerves that travel through it. These nerves typically travel to various parts of the body and, when disturbed, can lead to radiating pain and other undesirable symptoms.
Foraminotomy is a minimally invasive procedure designed to alleviate symptoms by widening the foramen and eliminating pressure on the nerves. The world-renowned team at the Spinal Stenosis Center of Excellence specializes in foraminotomy procedures and other spinal stenosis treatments. The Center is widely considered the top option for spine surgery in Los Angeles.
What is Foraminal Stenosis?
The foramen, or foraminal canal, is a passageway for the nerves exiting the spine. The nerves are allowed to travel through the foramen and branch out to other parts of the body. There is usually plenty of space for the nerves to travel through the foramen, but certain issues in the surrounding spinal structures can obstruct their passage. Degenerative conditions like arthritis and disc degeneration can create debris in the foramen and narrow the canal.
Symptoms of foraminal stenosis can vary, depending on the case. Because this type of stenosis directly affects the nerves that travel through the body, a radiating pain known as radicular pain is a common symptom of foraminal stenosis. This pain will commonly radiate down into the legs or into the arms, depending on which nerve is obstructed. Other symptoms like numbness and loss of coordination and strength can also result from foraminal stenosis.
What is a Foraminotomy?
The foraminotomy is a minimally-invasive procedure for expanding the foramen and freeing the nerves from their restriction. Foraminal stenosis will most normally occur when the spinal bones or discs have degenerated. The discs in the back tend to deteriorate with age. This initiates a process of disc and cartilage breakdown, ligament thickening, and bone spur growth.
The disc material that has broken off can enter the foramen and clog it. Also, the bone spurs that grow as a result of degeneration can encroach on the foramen. When this happens, the space through the foramen becomes smaller and pressure is applied to the transiting nerve.
How is a Foraminotomy Performed?
Foraminotomy is a minimally invasive treatment that’s performed in under an hour with the use of local anesthesia. The surgeon utilizes a fluoroscopy X-ray to locate the compressed nerve. Once this nerve is precisely located, a small incision is made so that a guide pin can be put into the foramen.With the guidance of this pin, dilating tubes are inserted to expand the tissue for use of the endoscopic tube.
A small camera and advanced instruments are then used to remove a section of bone, called a laminotomy, for the surgeon to work through. The surgeon then removes excess bone, ligament, or debris and widens the foramen. After the space is cleared up, the instruments are extracted and the incision is closed.
What are the Advantages to a Foraminotomy?
There are many advantages to treating foraminal stenosis with a foraminotomy over both conservative treatments and more invasive surgical options. Conservative methods tend to treat only the symptoms and can be ineffective in treating the condition in the long term. More invasive surgeries can have a long recovery and may be very painful.
Some significant advantages to a foraminotomy procedure include:
- Performed in under an hour
- Done in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia
- Less post-op pain
- Quicker recovery time
- Fewer activity restrictions and more mobility post-op
- Minimal scarring
- Less trauma to the surrounding tissues
- Lower infection risk
Contact a Spinal Stenosis Specialist in Los Angeles
Foraminal stenosis can be very difficult to live with, as it can interfere with normal function and greatly affect quality of life. The symptoms of foraminal stenosis can become worse as time goes on, so it’s imperative that you seek expert medical guidance when you have been diagnosed. The surgeons at Spinal Stenosis Center of Excellence are experts in the foraminotomy procedure and can get you back to living a pain-free life. If you would like to schedule a consultation with an expert, call today at 888.538.0565 or use our contact form.