Severe foraminal stenosis

Severe foraminal stenosis can be a serious condition that reduces the size of the space 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 hindered.

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).

If you are suffering from severe foraminal stenosis and you have noticed a significant decline in your ability to perform daily activities, you should consult your physician to determine the best treatment option to help you recapture your life.

Treatment for severe foraminal stenosis

During the mild and moderate stages of foraminal stenosis, treatment options often will include gentle exercise and stretching, and can graduate to over-the-counter or prescription pain medications and steroidal injections. 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 the highly invasive techniques used during traditional open spine foraminal stenosis surgery, such as:

  • 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 MRI report or CT scan. Our minimally invasive procedures can help you find relief from chronic pain by removing a small portion of the damaged disc or bone spur that is causing the space in the foraminal canal to narrow. This can be accomplished through our minimally invasive decompression surgery, which provides a shorter recovery time§ than traditional open back surgery.

In some cases, our surgeon may remove the entire damaged disc or vertebra from the spine because the damage is too severe for the body to heal naturally. When this happens, a minimally invasive stabilization procedure is performed to insert an artificial disc or bone graft into the empty space in the spine. For more information about how our minimally invasive spine surgery treats foraminal stenosis and other spine conditions, contact Laser Spine Institute today for your MRI or CT scan review.