Foraminotomy is surgery that extends the opening in your back where nerve roots leave your spinal channel. You may have a narrowing of the nerve opening (foraminal stenosis).


Foraminotomy takes weight off of a nerve in your spinal segment. This decreases any pain you were having. Foraminotomy can be performed on any level of the spine.

You will be sleeping and feel no pain because of a general anesthesia.


  • You lie face down on the operating table. A cut (entry point) is made in the middle of the back of your spine. The length of the cut relies on upon the amount of your spinal section will be worked on.
  • Skin, muscles, and tendons are moved to the side. Your specialist may utilize a surgical magnifying lens to see inside your back.
  • Some bone is removed or shaved to open the nerve root opening (foramen). Any plate pieces are evacuated.
  • Other bone may likewise be evacuated at the back of the vertebrae to make more space (laminotomy or laminectomy).
  • The physician may do a spinal combination to ensure your spinal segment is steady after surgery.
  • The muscles and different tissues are set up back. The skin is sewn together.


A bundle of nerves (nerve root) leaves your spinal cord through openings in your spinal column. These openings are called the neural foramena. When the openings for the nerve root become narrow, it can put pressure on your nerve. This condition is called foraminal spinal stenosis.

This surgery may be considered if you have severe symptoms that interfere with your daily life. Symptoms include:

  • Pain that may be felt in your thigh, calf, lower back, shoulder, arms or hands. The pain is often deep and steady
  • Pain when doing certain activities or moving your body a certain way
  • Numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness


Risks of anesthesia and surgery in common are:

  • Reactions to medicines or breathing problems
  • Bleeding, blood clots, or infection

Risks of foraminotomy are:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection in wound or vertebral bones
  • Damage to a spinal nerve, causing weakness, pain, or loss of feeling
  • Partial or no relief of pain after surgery
  • Return of back pain in the future
  • Thrombophlebitis


You will have an MRI to make sure foraminal stenosis is causing your symptoms. Tell your doctor what medicines you are taking. This includes medicines, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.

During the days before the surgery:

  • Prepare your home for when you leave the hospital after surgery.
  • If you are a smoker, you need to stop. Your recovery will be slower and possibly not as good if you continue to smoke. Ask your doctor for help.
  • Two weeks before surgery, your physician may ask you to stop taking medicines that make it harder for your blood to clot. These include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn).
  • If you have diabetes, heart disease, or other medical problems, your surgeon will ask you to see your regular doctor.
  • Ask your doctor which medicines you should still take on the day of the surgery.
  • Let your doctor know right away if you get a cold, flu, fever, herpes breakout, or other illnesses.
  • You may want to visit a physiotherapist to learn exercises to do before surgery and to practice using crutches.

On the day of the surgery:

  • You will likely be asked not to drink or eat anything for 6 to 12 hours before the procedure.
  • Take the medicines your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Your doctor will tell you when to arrive at the hospital. Be sure to arrive on time.


You will probably wear a neck collar a while later if the surgery was on your neck. Most people can get up and sit up within 2 hours after surgery. You should move your neck precisely.

You should be able to leave the hospital the day after the surgery. Take after guidelines on the best way to watch over your injury and back at home.