Foraminotomy: Definition

Foraminotomy, sometimes called a neuroforaminotomy, is a surgical procedure, which enlarges the intervertebral foramen, sometimes called the neuroforamen. The purpose of this procedure is to relieve pressure on nerve roots, which pass from the spinal cord to other parts of body. Pressure on these nerve roots cause radiculopathy, which is weakness, numbness, tingling, a fiery shooting sensation or control problems in muscles and organs at the end of these nerves. Foraminotomy is indicated more often in the cervical than in the lumbar spine.

Foraminotomy: Indications

Foraminotomy: Surgery

Foraminotomy surgery can be done as a minimally invasive procedure. After a small incision is made, either endoscopic or tubular retraction techniques are employed to gain access to affected neuroforamen. Cutting and burring tools are used to remove bone spurs (osteophytes), ligament tissue, disc material and other materials from the compressed nerve roots. The wound is closed with absorbable sutures.

Foraminotomy: Surgery Risks

All surgery carries risks from anesthesia, blood clots and infections. If complications from these risks arise, they most often can be successfully treated. The physical condition of the patient (such as obesity and diabites) can also add risk to surgery.

Foraminotomy: Surgery Long-Term Outlook

The appropriate surgical procedure properly executed will provide long-term relief for the degenerated segments treated. However, if the condition was allowed to continue too long and the nerves have become damaged, there may be some remaining pain or numbness or no improvement. Also, any degenerative process will likely continue, and problems in other areas of the spine may appear at a later time.