|Other encyclopedia topics:||A-Ag Ah-Ap Aq-Az B-Bk Bl-Bz C-Cg Ch-Co Cp-Cz D-Di Dj-Dz E-Ep Eq-Ez F G H-Hf Hg-Hz I-In Io-Iz J K L-Ln Lo-Lz M-Mf Mg-Mz N O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q R S-Sh Si-Sp Sq-Sz T-Tn To-Tz U V W X Y Z 0-9|
|Contents of this page:|
Alternative NamesIntervertebral foramina; Spine surgery - foraminotomy
Definition Return to top
Foraminotomy is surgery that widens the opening in your back where nerve roots leave your spinal column. You may have a narrowing of the nerve opening (foraminal stenosis).
Description Return to top
Foraminotomy takes pressure off of a nerve in your spinal column and allows it to move more easily. It may be performed on any level of the spine. You will be asleep and feel no pain (general anesthesia).
Why the Procedure is Performed Return to top
A bundle of nerves (nerve root) leaves your spinal cord through an opening in your spinal column, called the neural foramen. When the opening for the nerve root can becomes narrow, it may put pressure on your nerve.
This condition is called foraminal spinal stenosis. Symptoms are:
You will have an MRI to make sure foraminal stenosis is causing your symptoms.
You and your doctor can decide when you need to have surgery for these symptoms. Spinal stenosis symptoms often become worse over time, but this may happen very slowly.
If your symptoms become more severe and interfere with your daily life or job, surgery may help.
Risks Return to top
Risks for any anesthesia are:
Risks for any surgery are:
Before the Procedure Return to top
Always tell your doctor or nurse what drugs you are taking, even drugs or herbs you bought without a prescription.
During the days before the surgery:
On the day of the surgery:
After the Procedure Return to top
You will probably be wearing a soft neck collar afterwards if the surgery was on your neck. Most people are able to get out of bed and sit up within 2 hours after surgery. You will need to move your neck carefully.
You should be able to leave the hospital the day after the surgery. You should be able to drive within a week or 2 and get back to light work after 4 weeks.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Foraminotomy for spinal foraminal stenosis will often provide full or partial relief of symptoms.
Future spine problems are possible for all patients after spine surgery. If you had spinal fusion and laminectomy, the spinal column above and below the fusion are more likely to have problems in the future. Also, if you needed more than one kind of back surgery (such as foraminotomy and spinal fusion), you may have more of a chance of future problems.
References Return to top
Curlee PM. Other disorders of the spine. In: Canale ST, Beatty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 41.
Park AL. Lower back pain and disorders intervertebral discs. In: Canale ST, Beatty JH, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 39.Update Date: 3/4/2009 Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.