Severe foraminal stenosis can be a serious condition that reduces 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 nerve roots to easily pass through the spinal column before branching out to the rest of the body. However, severe foraminal stenosis can greatly narrow these nerve passageways, thereby giving the nerves so little space 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 often will include gentle exercise and stretching, and can then graduate to over-the-counter or prescription pain medications and steroidal injections. Common spinal conditions, such as degenerative disc disease, bulging discs, spinal osteoarthritis 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 has diagnosed you with severe foraminal stenosis, traditional open back surgery may be the only treatment option offered to you.
Keep the following issues in mind when considering traditional open spine 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
- Open spinal fusion surgery often follows, which may include bone grafts or rods, to stabilize the spinal column
Coping with severe foraminal stenosis does not have to be a way of life. If conservative treatment options cannot relieve your debilitating pain and you want to avoid the lengthy recovery time of an open back procedure, let the medical team at Laser Spine Institute review your case. Our minimally invasive procedures can help you find relief from chronic pain. Contact Laser Spine Institute today for a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan.