An endoscopic foraminotomy is a minimally invasive technique used to enlarge the nerve root openings by eliminating the cause of narrowing of the foramina. The foramina are the small openings in each vertebra through which the spinal cord, spinal artery and other vessels and nerves pass. In some cases, these openings can become partially blocked in a condition known as spinal stenosis, causing nerves and blood flow to become impinged, which results in pain, numbness and/or a reduction in range of motion. Several spinal conditions can cause changes in the foramina, but the most common include bulging or herniated discs, degenerative disc changes, facet joint syndrome and spondylosis. Aging, injury and excessive wear-and-tear can also be contributing factors to the condition.
In most patients, the endoscopic technique utilizing an endoscopy (scope with a tiny camera) is preferred over an open surgery to resolve the patient’s spinal impingements. An open surgery requires a much larger incision and typically has a longer recovery period, as well as an increased risk of infection.
Benefits associated with an Endoscopic Foraminotomy include:
- Minimally invasive surgery requires only a tiny incision made in the lower back, leading to less blood loss, minimal scarring and only a little bandage required to cover the incison.
- Spine stays stable because of our surgeon will only widen the necessary amount of the intervertebral foramina. The foramina are the small openings in each vertebra thorugh which the spinal cord, spinal artery and other vessels and nerves pass.
- Fast recuperation that typically permits the patient to return to their daily life, work and activities much sooner than traditional open surgery.
With the patient lying down and under anesthesia, we will start the endoscopic foraminotomy.
This procedure will typically cover the following steps:
- Our surgeons insert a tube known as a cannula through a small cut in the patient’s back. From there, they can insert a tiny camera (endoscope) and tools, allowing our surgeon to guide the procedure via larger monitors in the operating room.
- We will then remove the affected area to open up the foramina to allow for space of the spinal cord, spinal artery and other vessels and nerves to pass without impingement.
- Finally, the endoscope is removed and the site of the incision is closed with a small stitch and a bandage. This is an out-patient surgery and the patient is allowed to go home several hours after the completion of surgery.
A bulging disc is quite common, and usually remains undetected until the disc bulge comes in contact with adjacent nerves leading to pain and other symptoms.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Degenerative disc disease is not truly a disease, but more of a chain of events that naturally occur as we age. There is no avoiding degenerative disc disease, but you may slow its progress.
As the outer shell of your disc begins to toughen or dry up, a painful crack or tear could happen. Learn what a disc tear is, and how you can recover from it.
Failed Back & Neck Surgery
There are many reasons why back or neck surgery may provide lackluster results. Bad diagnosis, unskilled surgeon, or improper healing; which is it?
Facet Joint Syndrome
Facet Joint Syndrome refers to the degeneration of the arthritic changes that occur in your facet joints. Age and daily wear and tear are the most common culprits.
Foraminal Stenosis describes the narrowing of the foramen. As the foramen narrows, exiting nerves can become compressed causing pain and other symptoms.
Pain presents itself in many different ways, at different times and in many cases is triggered by specific activities. We will be happy to answer your questions in conjunction with a personal phone call follow up with one of our doctors.
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