Brain and Spine
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What is a foraminotomy?

There are numerous spinal surgeries performed by neurosurgeons including the foraminotomy.

Kuether Brain & Spine is equipped to perform a foraminotomy when it makes sense for the patient.

A foraminotomy is “a decompression surgery that is performed to enlarge the passageway where a spinal nerve roots exits the spinal canal.”

This surgery is used when bone or tissue is obstructing the neuroforamen or spinal passageway. This obstruction usually results in pinching of the nerve root.

The neuroforamen are on both sides of spinal column and sit between an upper and lower vertebra.

When the neuroforamen is pinched, it typically causes inflammation. Other symptoms of the compression of neuroforamen include pain, stiffness, numbness, tingling sensations or weakness.

These symptoms can manifest in the back or other parts of the body including shoulders, arms, hands, lower back, buttocks, legs and feet, depending on the location of the compression.

Nerve root compression can be caused other spinal conditions including spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, a bulging or herniated intervertebral disc, bone spurs (osteophytes), and spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis).

It is critical to treat nerve root compression as it can temporary (e.g. swelling, inflammation, built-up pressure) and long-lasting problems (e.g. scarring) In the most severe cases, nerve root compression can cause irreversible damage to the affected nerve.

Treatment of nerve root compression also encourages a pain-free life.

A neurosurgeon may recommend a foraminotomy for severe cases of nerve root compression, particularly if paired with other spinal conditions.

Other options include physical therapy, anti-inflammation prescription drugs or spine and epidural injections.

With any spinal pain, it is important to consider all factors. A foraminotomy may help address one challenge but not all conditions.

A primary care physician and neurosurgeon will be able to help identify and diagnosis the cause of the nerve root compression.