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. This allows the spine to move more easily. Foraminotomy can be performed on any level of the spine.

Symptoms

Pain that may be felt in your thigh, calf, lower back, shoulder, arms or hands. The pain is often deep and steady

Pain when doing certain activities or moving your body a certain way

Numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness

How does a Foraminotomy work?

  • You lie face down on the operating table. A cut (incision) is made in the middle of the back of your spine. The length of the incision depends on how much of your spinal column will be operated on.
  • Skin, muscles, and ligaments are moved to the side. Your surgeon may use a surgical microscope to see inside your back.
  • Some bone is cut or shaved away to open the nerve root opening (foramen). Any disk fragments are removed.
  • Other bone may also be removed at the back of the vertebrae to make more room (laminotomy or laminectomy).
  • The surgeon may do a spinal fusion to make sure your spinal column is stable after surgery.
  • The muscles and other tissues are put back in place. The skin is sewn together.