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Minimally Invasive Foraminotomy

Minimally Invasive Foraminotomy

A foraminotomy is a procedure that relieves pressure off of nerves in your spine by widening the vertebral opening that the nerves flow through. A minimally invasive foraminotomy requires only a small incision, making it safer and easier to recover from than an open surgery.

Why Would I Need a Minimally Invasive Foraminotomy?


Foramina are the passageways between spinal vertebrae that nerves travel through. When one of these openings constrict a bundle of spinal nerves, a patient may need a foraminotomy to widen the constricting passageways and relieve the pressure.
The narrowing of foramina is known as foraminal stenosis. Symptoms of stenosis include:
  • Numbness and tingling in the back and extremities
  • Muscle weakness
  • Reduced reflexes
  • Sciatic pain from the buttocks through the leg down to the foot

What is the Procedure Like?


Unlike open surgery, minimally invasive foraminotomies require only a small incision. The steps of the procedure:
  • The patient lies face down
  • A small incision is made over the vertebrae
  • Surgical microscopes provide vision
  • Dilators are inserted to gently move muscles and nerves aside
  • A portion of the vertebrae is removed to expose the nerve root
  • The foraminal opening is expanded by shaving some bone
  • The muscles and tissue are put in place and the incision is closed

Recovery


Every case is different, though patients are typically able to leave the hospital the day after the procedure. It will take a few weeks to fully recover and return to driving and light work. Consult your doctor for professional advice on your recovery.

Risks and Complications


Minimally invasive surgeries are typically significantly less risky than open surgeries. However, all spinal procedures include risk of bleeding, infection, nerve damage, blood clots and other risks associated with anesthesia.
To learn more about minimally invasive foraminotomies or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.