What is a foraminotomy?

We define a foraminotomy in the most basic of terms by saying it is a procedure designed to relieve symptoms related to nerve compression within the openings where spinal nerve roots exit and enter the spinal column. In other words, a foraminotomy is used to decompress spinal nerve roots that are compressed within one or more foramina. A foramen is an opening that allows a spinal nerve root to exit the spinal column, and these openings are found in pairs on either side of the vertebrae.

What does a foraminotomy involve?

In healthy foramina, the associated nerve roots have plenty of space to exit and carry signals to and from the body, spinal cord and brain. However, if a condition such as a herniated disc, bulging disc or bone spur restricts the space within a particular foramen, the nerve root could become compressed. Different surgeons may perform foraminotomies through different approaches, and Laser Spine Institute employs an advanced, minimally invasive approach.

During a foraminotomy at Laser Spine Institute, a highly skilled, specialized surgeon uses minimally invasive techniques to remove only the portion of the spinal anatomy necessary to decompress the nerve root.

When is a foraminotomy recommended?

Surgery for conditions that affect the foramina is generally only considered as a last resort. In many cases, symptoms like neck and back pain can be managed using conservative, nonsurgical treatment methods such as exercise and stretching.

However, if debilitating symptoms persist after several weeks or months, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about the benefits of a minimally invasive foraminotomy. We’ll be glad to provide you with a free MRI review* that will help us determine whether you’re a candidate for our minimally invasive procedures.