Foraminotomy: Overview, Advantages, & Eligibility Criteria
The foramina are passageways, or canals, in-between each vertebra that allow for the spinal nerve roots to exit the spinal cord and extend outward to the body. Despite their small size, these doorways facilitate the delivery of messages that are crucial to our body’s sensation, reflexes, bodily functions—and ultimately—our survival. A number of conditions can lead to the narrowing of these foraminal passageways, which inevitably lead to spinal nerve compression, pain, and incapacitation. When these symptoms occur, a foraminotomy may be required to reverse painful side effects.
During a minimally invasive foraminotomy, your physician will begin by making a small 1 to 2-inch incision on your back, above or to the side of the affected foramina. The muscles and nerves covering this area of the spine will be gently moved to the side to clear access for the procedure. Using tiny, specialized instruments and magnification, your surgeon will access the affected foramina and remove part of the vertebra to relieve pressure on pinched spinal nerves. If a damaged disc is contributing to the collapse of the foramina, any protruding or herniated disc material may be removed at this time.
Following the excision of foraminal bone and obstructing tissues or disc materials, your surgeon will return the muscles and nerves to their original location. Lastly, the small incision will be closed. Because of the extremely small size of the surgical opening as well as the minimal damage to internal tissues, closing the surgical site can often be accomplished without the use of sutures.
Advantages of a Foraminotomy
A minimally invasive foraminotomy is an effective option for treating the painful and debilitating symptoms of foraminal nerve compression. Regardless of the cause of your foraminal stenosis, a minimally invasive foraminotomy can probably reverse it. The benefits of this procedure often include the following:
- Small 1 to 2-inch incisions, making the healing process faster, with less pain and scarring
- Little to no damage to muscles, nerves, and ligaments in the back leading to less pain overall
- Often performed as a same-day procedure; most patients return home shortly after surgery
- Many patients will experience immediate relief from nerve pain after the procedure
- Minimally invasive techniques lead to a faster recovery and return to normal activities
The foramina are small openings in the vertebrae that require extreme precision during surgery. With practiced surgeons like the award-winning Dr. Gatto, the experienced team at the Advanced Spine Center are experts in minimally invasive technology. Don’t suffer with debilitating spinal pain any longer: Call the Advanced Spine Center today to achieve pain relief and peace of mind.
Eligibility Requirements for a Foraminotomy
If you are experiencing debilitating pain caused by compressed spinal nerves in the foramina, then a minimally invasive foraminotomy may be able to remedy your condition. Symptoms that may be present include: localized pain, radiating pain down the arms or legs, and tingling or burning sensations in the back or radiating down the limbs. If more conservative treatments have failed to resolve your foraminal stenosis, then consult with a physician to assess your need for a foraminotomy.
If you have infection at the proposed site of surgery, are already experiencing extreme structural instability in the vertebrae, or if you have any major disqualifying health concerns, then a foraminotomy may not be the right procedure for you.