The nerves in your spinal cord run through two narrow passageways called foramina, one on each side of your spinal cord, and travel to different parts of your body. Sometimes, because of bulging discs and other issues, these passageways can narrow and put pressure on a nerve. When this happens, it is a condition known as foraminal spinal stenosis. Foraminotomy is the surgical procedure that is used to treat this potentially painful and debilitating condition.
The foraminotomy procedure widens the opening to take pressure off the nerve that is causing you pain. Foraminal stenosis surgery can be performed on any part of the spine using a minimally invasive alternative to traditional open back surgery.
If you’re tired of living with back pain, call us at [sc name=”patient_phone_number_dash”] to learn more about our minimally invasive foraminal stenosis treatment. Our board-certified specialists can help you like they’ve helped thousands of others to find relief from debilitating back pain.
Relief from pain and numbness and the ability to return to your regular activities are by far the best benefits of having foraminal stenosis surgery. Along with feeling better, the ability to now perform the foraminotomy procedure using minimally invasive techniques rather than having to resort to traditional surgery provides a patient even more benefits, including:
- A quick recovery
- Outpatient options that allow you to return home the same day
- A small incision, usually less than 1 inch
Conditions and Symptoms Treated
Foraminal stenosis surgery is performed to remove a small piece of bone and/or tissue putting pressure on the nerve and causing symptoms. The symptoms that can be relieved by a foraminotomy procedure include:
- Pain that radiates to your leg, back, shoulders, arms or hands
- Numbness and tingling
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
Conditions that can be treated using minimally invasive foraminal stenosis surgery are:
How to Prepare for a Foraminotomy
You will be provided with specific preparation instructions to follow to prepare for your foraminotomy. You may be asked to do the following to prepare for your procedure (Consult your doctor for what applies to you):
- Stop taking certain medications and supplements – Some medications and supplements increase the risk of bleeding. You will be advised by your doctor as to which of these you need to stop taking and for how long before your foraminotomy.
- Stop smoking – Smoking has been shown to slow recovery. You may be asked to stop smoking for a period of time before and after your surgery.
- Fast for 6-12 hours – You will need to fast before your procedure and will be advised as to how long beforehand you will need to fast.
- Arrange a ride home – Due to anesthesia medication, you will not be able to drive after your procedure and need to arrange to have someone drop you off and pick you up on the day of surgery.
Failing to follow your preparation instructions may result in the postponement of your foraminotomy procedure.
What to Expect
General anesthesia is common with the foraminotomy procedure. You will lie face down for the procedure. A tiny incision measuring around an inch will be made in the middle of the spine over the affected area and a tube will be inserted to allow the surgeon to access the spine, muscles, ligaments and tissues. A small instrument and/or laser is passed through the tube and used to remove or shave away the bone or disc fragments that are pressing on the nerve.
Depending on what other spinal conditions are involved, the surgeon may find it necessary to perform procedures such as a laminotomy or laminectomy to allow more room around the nerves or a spinal fusion to help stabilize the spine. Once completed, the incision will be closed and you will be sent to a recovery room where you will be monitored for a few hours before being released.
Thanks to minimally invasive foraminal stenosis surgery, most patients can go home the same day of the procedure and able to return to their normal activities in 4 to 6 weeks.
Pain after a foraminotomy procedure can be easily managed using over-the-counter pain medication and by applying heat and cold to the area. You may also be prescribed physical therapy to assist you in your recovery and help you prevent back pain or injury in the future.
Your surgeon will advise you as to when you can resume your normal activities.
There is no need to live with back pain any longer. Call [sc name=”patient_phone_number_dash”] and let Back Pain Centers of America help you get back your active lifestyle. It could be the most important call you ever make.
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