Foraminotomy procedure explained by Chairman, Department of Surgery, Michael C. Weiss, D.O., FAOAO

Get more information from orthopedic spine surgeon, Chairman Weiss, as he explains the process of a foraminotomy, as well as what spine conditions it treats.

Foraminotomy - Minimally Invasive Decompression

Foraminotomy is a Laser Spine Institute procedure that relieves certain painful spinal conditions.

At Laser Spine Institute, surgeons perform a procedure called a foraminotomy using a minimally invasive approach in an outpatient setting.

Advantages of Laser Spine Institute's minimally invasive spine surgery:

  • No lengthy recovery*
  • 97% patient satisfaction
  • Board-certified surgeons+
  • Less than 1-inch incision
  • Outpatient procedure

A foraminotomy of the spine is used to treat the following conditions:

Surgeons perform a foraminotomy to relieve the symptoms of nerve root compression, known as a "pinched nerve," caused by bone, disc, scar tissue, or excessive ligament development compressing the foramen.

During this procedure, the surgeon begins by placing a tube into a small incision. One at a time, a series of tubes of increasing size are placed over the first tube to slowly create a small opening to the spine. This allows surgeons to perform foraminotomies without tearing or cutting the surrounding muscles, which are split between their fibers. The last tube measures about 18 millimeters in diameter (the size of a small marker), the space needed to insert the laser, camera, suction, irrigation and other surgical instruments.

Once the tools are in place, the surgeon begins removing the bone and tissue that is compressing the nerve without causing the patient discomfort. When the procedure is complete, the tube is slowly removed, allowing the muscles to move back into place. A stitch or two is needed to close the incision.

After one to two hours of monitoring, the patient (with a Care Partner) is free to go. We generally encourage patients to take a walk the afternoon or evening of their foraminotomy procedure. The patient then returns for a postoperative visit to get clearance from the physician to return home.

Laser Spine Institute offers various minimally invasive procedures to relieve neck and back pain caused by spine conditions and nerve conditions. Procedures offered include laminotomies, foraminotomies, discectomies, facet thermal ablations and minimally invasive stabilization.

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