Treatment of Back Pain

Foraminotomy Spinal Surgery to Relieve Pressure on Nerves

There are some cases of lower back pain which are a result of excess pressure exerted on the spinal nerves (called "pinching"). This is mostly a result of the narrowing of the exits of spinal canal (which houses these nerves). If the pain is excruciating or is persistently there for a very long time, medical spine specialists can recommend Foraminotomy surgery.

How Does The Complication Arise?

Spinal exit passages are located on both sides of the main spinal canal. These passages are located in between two vertebrae, which are separated with the help of intervertebral discs. The size of this disc determines the width of the spinal exits. Any damage or wear and tear results in the narrowing down of the intervertebral space and, thus, the spinal exits.

Apart from the above mentioned reason, there are some other specific reasons for nerve compression as well. They are as follows:

* Bulging or herniated intervertebral disc
* Bone spurs (osteophytes)
* Degenerative disc disease
* Spinal stenosis
* Spondylosis (spinal osteoarthritis)

Symptoms of Narrowing of Spinal Passage (Neuroforamen)

Reduction in the width of spinal canal exits results in an increased pressure (pinching) of the spinal nerves housed in those exits. The spinal nerves then get compressed which results in symptoms listed below:

* Numbness
* Pain
* Weakness
* Stiffness
* Tingling sensation

The above listed sensation first began as a localised phenomenon. This means that they first get manifested only in and around the spinal canal region. However, as the spinal nerves exiting the region reach other parts of the body, the pain soon spreads to other parts of the body.

The Surgery

A medical spine specialist determines when to conduct Foraminotomy surgery. He/she also takes into consideration whether there is a need to perform any other type of surgery or not. If the need is found out then Foraminotomy is performed along with other type of spinal surgeries such as Laminectomy and Discectomy.

How Is It Performed?

Foraminotomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed under either general or local anaesthesia. A patient is placed on his/her abdomen, thus giving the surgeon full access to the patient's back. Cuts measuring a few inches are then made on the affected area, thereby revealing the muscles covering the spinal canal.

These muscles are then pulled aside with the help of a retractor. The spinal canal is now accessible and the surgeon then sets out to work on the problem affecting the nerves in the region.

Time Taken For Recovery

The time required by patients for recovery depends from case to case. If only Foraminotomy is performed then the patient might be discharged on the same day. Otherwise, there is a need to spend a day or two in the hospital to recover from the surgery.