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Foraminotomy using a minimally invasive approach available through Laser Spine Institute

Nerve compression can cause debilitating pain and symptoms if not treated in a timely manner. Nerve compression is one of the most common causes of patient pain. In addition to the pain, often this compression can lead to symptoms such as tingling, numbness and weakness. The first forms of treatment recommended are generally conservative alternatives, however for many patients the pain and symptoms continue after these treatments. In these cases, surgery is often necessary to treat the underlying conditions.

The foraminotomy procedure offered at Laser Spine Institute’s Philadelphia facility treats this compression by releasing the pressure placed on the nerves that are exiting the spinal canal. This release, in turn, alleviates the pain and symptoms, which were associated with the compression, by removing any tissue or bone restricting the opening of the foramen.

The foraminotomy is performed through a less than 1-inch incision, by our highly trained surgeons in Philadelphia. Through this incision the surgeon will insert a series of dilating tubes in order to stretch the muscles, preventing the ripping and tearing generally associated with open back procedures. Once the largest tube is in place, the surgeon will insert the visualization tools and any other equipment needed to complete the surgery.

Conditions treated by a foraminotomy

The type of nerve compression treated by a foraminotomy can be caused by a number of different conditions, including:

  • Bulging or herniated discs — Discs that are bulging or herniated can often cause disc material to move outside of its general location. This is treated by a foraminotomy when the disc material restricts the opening of the foramen.
  • Pinched nerves — Nerves that are pinched or compressed are treated by the foraminotomy as the surgeon opens the gateway for the nerves to freely exit the foramen.
  • Bone spurs — When bone spurs develop on the entrance of the foramen, often a foraminotomy is needed to remove the spur and open the canal again.
  • Sciatica — When the sciatic nerve is compressed, the foraminotomy can offer decompression by opening the exit area.
  • Arthritis — Though there is no cure for arthritis, during the foraminotomy the surgeon may offer the patient temporary relief.
  • Foraminal stenosis — As the gateway of the foramen narrows, the nerves may become impinged. The foraminotomy procedure will open up this pathway, releasing the nerves to exit freely.

If you are suffering from any of the above conditions and think that a foraminotomy at our Philadelphia facility may be the best option for you, contact Laser Spine Institute today. You can submit your most recent MRI or CT scan for review so we can determine if you may be a candidate.