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Endoscopic Foraminotomy

This procedure can be used to alleviate pain stemming from the lumbar (lower back) or cervical (neck) portions of the spine. There are a variety of disorders that can cause the different tissues in and around the spine to fall or slip out of place. When this happens, pain often occurs because the out-of-place tissue presses on one of the many nerves in the spine. An endoscopic foraminotomy uses endoscopic, minimally invasive techniques to remove pain-causing tissue.

Conditions

  • Spinal stenosis
  • – This is also known as spinal narrowing. Usually caused from wear and tear as you get older, putting more pressure on your spinal chord.

  • Foraminal stenosis
  • – Like spinal stenosis, this is more acute narrowing that occurs in the cervical disc space. Usually occurs after a joint in the spinal canal has been enlarged over time.

  • Cervical radiculopathy
  • – Also known as a pinched nerve. There are several common types such as sciatica, lumbar radiculopathy, cervical radiculopathy, and thoracic radiculopathy. It is a disease found at the root of a nerve.

  • Spondylolisthesis
  • – A type of spinal disorder where the vertebra slips into the bone below it in the spinal cord.

  • Failed back surgery syndrome
  • – Simply put, this is when one continues to feel pain after back surgery.

  • Herniated disc
  • – Sometimes known as spinal disc herniation. This condition is relatively common and is used to describe the phenomenon of the soft center of a spinal disc pushing through a crack of your spine’s tougher, more rigid exterior casing. Sometimes this occurs with little to no noticeable symptoms.

  • Lumbar radiculopathy
  • – Also known as sciatica. The symptoms for this condition are identified by a sharp pain running from the lower back down to one or both legs. Normally caused by a herniated disc or bone spur putting pressure on a nerve.

  • Bone spurs
  • – Medically referred to as osteophytes. Think of this as extra bone mass that grows on normal bone you already have. While normally smooth, this extra bone can press against other bones or tissues that it shouldn’t, causing internal wear and tear which lead to pain symptoms.

Treatment

  • A small metal tube is inserted into the lumbar spinal nerve through the neuroforman, a natural hole in the nerve (for a lumbar surgery)
  • A small metal tube is inserted into the cervical spine through the nerve canal using x-ray guidance
  • Through endoscopic techniques, a small camera is used to locate the spinal nerve
  • Damaged or degenerated tissue that is out of place and subsequently causing pain is removed
  • A laser, or radiowaves in some cases, can be used to destroy the damaged or degenerated tissue