Foraminotomy is surgery to widen the opening in the back where nerve roots leave the spinal canal. This relieves pressure on the nerve root and reduces any pain you were having.

This spine surgery may be necessary if your symptoms include pain in the thighs, lower back, calf, shoulder, arms or hands, or if you experience numbness or tingling.

Foraminotomy: What to Expect

Before Surgery

Before your procedure you will have imaging tests, such as an MRI, to confirm your diagnosis.

Be sure to prepare your home for when you return from the hospital to help ease your recovery. You will probably have an appointment at the preoperative assessment clinic.

During Surgery

You will be asleep for the surgery and will feel no pain (general anesthesia).

Your surgeon will make a small cut in your back. Some bone is cut or shaved away to open the nerve root opening (foramen). Any disk fragments are removed.

Other bone may also be removed at the back of the vertebrae to make more room (laminectomy). Your surgeon may also do a spinal fusion to make sure your spinal column is stable after surgery.

After Surgery

Most patients go home after 1 to 3 days. You will likely be encouraged to get up and walk as soon as the anesthesia wears off to aid in your recovery.

Your provider will give you instructions for how to care for your back in the days and weeks following surgery.