Severe foraminal stenosis is a serious condition that affects the size of the spaces between each vertebra. These spaces, or foramina, are located to the right and left of the vertebrae and, in a healthy spine, are large enough for nerves to easily pass through the spinal column on their way to the rest of the body. However, severe foraminal stenosis can greatly narrow these nerve passageways, thereby giving the nerves so little space to travel that they can become stressed and pinched. This pressure on spinal nerves can mean that normal, daily activities, such as work, driving, recreation, or even basic reflex function and mobility can be acutely hindered.
During the mild and moderate stages of foraminal stenosis, treatment options will range from gentle exercise to stretching, and then graduate to over-the-counter or prescription pain medications and steroidal injections. Common spinal conditions such as degenerative disc disease, bulging discs, or herniated discs can all contribute to severe foraminal stenosis, which can manifest as lumbar foraminal stenosis (in the lower back), cervical foraminal stenosis (in the upper back), or thoracic foraminal stenosis (in the middle back). By the time the condition has worsened and a physician diagnoses you with severe foraminal stenosis, traditional open-back surgery may be the only option offered to you.
Keep the following issues in mind when considering traditional foraminal stenosis surgery:
- A 5- to 6-inch incision is made in order to access the area of the spine affected
- Constricting bone matter and other tissue is removed
- Spinal fusion surgery often follows, which may include bone grafts or rods, to stabilize the spinal column
Fortunately, severe foraminal stenosis does not have to be a way of life. If traditional treatment options cannot relieve you of debilitating pain, and you want to avoid the lengthy recovery time of an open-back procedure, let the award-winning medical team at Laser Spine Institute review your case. Our endoscopic, minimally invasive procedures can help you rediscover a life without pain. Contact Laser Spine Institute today for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan.