What is a Foraminotomy? | BEST

Nerves in the spine can become compressed for several reasons. However, the symptoms of a compressed nerve in the spinal cord are often the same: local and radiating pain, tingling, and numbness and weakness in the arm or leg. When left untreated, these symptoms can prevent you from enjoying the activities you love and ultimately lower your quality of life. 

BEST Health System understands the frustration of chronic neck or back pain due to a compressed nerve, especially when you are not finding relief in conservative treatments. The goal of our minimally invasive procedures is not to temporarily treat the pain, but rather to treat the condition at its core so you can find lasting relief. 

What is Minimally Invasive Foraminotomy Procedure?

BEST offers a minimally invasive foraminotomy procedure that relieves pain associated with foraminal stenosis. Your spine is made up of vertebrae stacked on top of one another. There are discs in between each vertebra to allow the spine to move freely without affecting the surrounding nerves. There is a small, narrow passageway on both sides of the vertebrae which allows the nerve roots to travel from the spinal cord to other areas of the body. This narrow passageway is called the foramina. When the foramina becomes narrowed due to bulging disc or other spinal conditions, foraminal stenosis occurs. In short, foraminal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the foraminal spine. 

Since the foramina is the section of the spine that carries the nerve roots to other areas of the body, having a spine condition that obstructs one of those nerves can be extremely painful and debilitating. Our minimally invasive foraminotomy procedure removes whatever is compressing the nerve in your foramina to help you find relief from your chronic pain. The advancement of our minimally invasive techniques allows our surgeons to complete this procedure without affecting your surrounding muscles and compromising the stability of your spine. 

Common symptoms relieved by our minimally invasive foraminotomy procedure:

Symptoms can vary depending on the individual, the reason for foraminal stenosis, and the severity of the condition. Generally speaking, these are the most common conditions relieved by our foraminotomy procedure:

  • Shooting Pain – Since the passageway that carries the nerve roots from the spine to other parts of the body is compressed, many patients experience shooting pain either in the shoulder and arm or in the buttock and leg. In very severe cases, the pain may reach the hand or foot. 
  • Numbness or Stiffness – If the foraminal stenosis is found in the lower back, you may experience numbness and stiffness in your back and legs. This can increase when standing or sitting in the same position for too long. 
  • Loss of Bladder and/or Bowel Control – This symptom only occurs in very severe cases. If you are experiencing this symptom, seek medical help immediately. 

Not all symptoms occur in patients with foraminal stenosis. However, if you are experiencing these symptoms, we encourage you to have your MRI reviewed by our team. 

Spine Conditions that could Cause Foraminal Stenosis

There are several reasons why the foraminal canal can narrow. The following list consists of possible causes of foraminal stenosis.

  • Foraminal stenosis
  • Herniated disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Pinched nerve
  • Bone spurs
  • Arthritis of the spine
  • Sciatica

BEST Health System

If you are interested in learning more about foraminal stenosis, contact BEST today. Our team members are dedicated to exploring treatment options with patients to ensure they find the most effective, least invasive treatment option.