Foraminal Stenosis – Is There a Minimally Invasive Procedure

An Overview of Foraminal Stenosis

Foraminal stenosis describes the narrowing of the foramina. The foramina are the spaces through which spinal nerve roots branch off the spinal cord. It most commonly occurs when misaligned, inflamed, or otherwise damaged portions of the spine press into the foraminal canals, limiting the available space. 

Bulging disc, herniated disc, spinal arthritis, spinal bone spurs, and other degenerative spine condition are all common causes of foraminal stenosis. When these conditions develop, they can cause the foraminal canal to narrow. This can lead to nerve compression within the canal. A pinched nerve will cause symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness can occur. 

Most patients diagnosed with foraminal stenosis can relieve their symptoms with nonsurgical treatments like physical therapy or medication. However, surgery for foraminal stenosis will serve to decompress the affected spinal nerve root. If conservative treatments don’t bring relief, you will need to consider surgery, but it is normally a last resort option.

Your Foraminal Stenosis Surgery Options

If you have been recommended to undergo spine surgery for foraminal stenosis, you should thoroughly research the two main surgical approaches: traditional open spine surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery. Minimally invasive procedures offer many advantages over open neck or back surgeries, including muscle-sparing techniques that allow for an outpatient procedure. The minimally invasive procedures at BEST Health System offer a shorter recovery time and less risk of complication than traditional open spine surgery. 

Minimally Invasive Foraminotomy

Patients who receive little to no relief from several months of conservative treatments will become candidates for a foraminal stenosis procedure called a minimally invasive foraminotomy. This procedure can help treat foraminal stenosis and relieve pressure on the pinched nerve. 

The following steps are how a minimally invasive foraminotomy will happen: 

  • A less than one-inch incision is made in the neck or back
  • The muscles around the spine are spread, sparing them from unnecessary disruption
  • The surgeon will remove a small portion of the spinal anatomy. This is to provide more space for the spinal nerve root and relieve nerve compression
  • The surgeon will close the incision.

This procedure will take place in an outpatient surgery center. Thus allowing a patient to return home within a few hours of surgery. 

Find Out If You’re a Candidate 

If a doctor has advised you to undergo neck or back surgery to help treat your foraminal stenosis. In that case, you might be a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure at BEST Health System. 

Contact us to find out!