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Lumbar Foraminotomy: Spinal Surgical Procedure

Compressed nerves in your spinal column can cause debilitating pain and keep you from participating in activities you enjoy. Lumbar foraminotomy is a procedure done to widen the opening in your spine where nerve roots exit the spinal column. This relieves the nerve pressure that’s causing your symptoms. Don’t let back problems impact your quality of life or take a chance that ignoring symptoms could lead to further complications. Visit Dr. Branko Skovrlj, founder of NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute. Dr. Skovrlj is a fellowship-trained spine surgeon who’s an expert in minimally invasive spine surgery and complex spinal procedures. Call today to find out the best treatment options for your back pain.

What Is Lumbar Foraminotomy?

Lumbar foraminotomy is a procedure to enlarge the small hole between two vertebrae in your spine through which nerves pass through. This small hole is known as a foramen. Spinal cord nerves exit through the foramen and then spread out to other parts of your body. They’re continually sending messages back and forth between your body to your brain.

When the foramen hole becomes narrowed or constricted, it puts pressure on the nerves. If the openings where these nerves exit is in your lower back, called your lumbar spine, your spine surgeon may recommend a procedure called a lumbar foraminotomy to relieve symptoms of a compressed nerve, which include:

  • Lower back pain, which may radiate to other areas, such as your buttocks
  • Tingling in your arms and legs
  • Numbness in your back or legs
  • Weakness in your legs or spine

A foraminotomy can be done on any part of the spine, including your middle back and cervical spine. Because low back pain is one of the major sources of back pain in the country, Dr. Branko Skovrlj at NU-Spine in Edison, New Jersey has perfected the procedure.

Lumbar Foraminotomy

Who Can Benefit from Lumbar Foraminotomy Surgery?

Many disorders can lead to nerve root compression, also called lumbar radiculopathy. You can benefit from the procedure if you have a condition that causes a foramen to become too small, such as:

Low back pain that conservative treatments, like physical therapy, haven’t helped will likely improve after a foraminotomy. Minimally invasive back surgery, a foraminotomy may be combined with a lumbar laminectomy, or a discectomy to decompress nerves. Your neurosurgeon recommends the best surgery for you, based on the location of your pain and the severity of your symptoms.

What Happens During a Lumbar Foraminotomy Procedure?

Your spine surgeon explains the details of your procedure, which may also be called endoscopic lumbar foraminotomy or posterior lumbar foraminotomy. You’re asked not to eat or drink anything for six to 12 hours before your lumbar foraminotomy procedure.

For this minimally invasive procedure, surgery is done on an outpatient basis and usually takes a couple of hours, although you may require a hospital stay of a day or two. The steps of the procedure involve:

  • You’re given anesthesia, so you’ll be asleep for the procedure.
  • You’re positioned face down on the surgical table.
  • Your neurosurgeon makes a small incision near the affected area.
  • A special microscope is used to guide the surgeon as he inserts a tube through the incision to the target.
  • Small tools are used to expose and widen the affected foramen.
  • If necessary, the surgeon removes the blockage that’s pressing on the nerve, whether it’s a bulging disc or bone spur.
  • Once complete, the incision is closed.

What Should I Expect After Lumbar Foraminotomy?

You may experience some discomfort at the incision site for a few days, which can usually be controlled with over-the-counter medications. You may have to avoid certain activities for a few weeks such as:

  • Driving
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Lifting, pushing or pulling heavy objects

After about four weeks, you should be able to resume light work and exercise. You may not be able to do heavier work for a few months. Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help you regain strength and flexibility, and it also reduces your post-operative discomfort.

Where Can I Get Minimally Invasive Foraminotomy Lumbar Surgery?

If you’re experiencing chronic back pain or neck that’s persistent in the New York City or northern New Jersey area, check out NU-Spine in Edison, NJ. When other, more conservative treatments haven’t led to relief, it’s time to be evaluated by an expert in the field of spine surgery. The best spine doctor in the Northeast is Dr. Skovrlj. He uses evidence-based spinal treatments and state-of-the art-technology to give you the best possible results.

At NU-Spine, Dr. Skovrlj uses a minimally invasive approach whenever possible. Get in touch with this spine-focused practice today to find out what can be done to relieve your discomfort. Return to a full and active life as soon as possible. Get started at NU-Spine.

Page Updated on Dec 27, 2022 by Dr. Branko Skovrlj (Neurosurgeon / Spine surgeon) of NU-Spine: The Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery Institute in New Jersey
Branko Skovrlj, MD

Dr. Branko Skovrlj, MD, is a board-certified neurosurgeon and a fellowship-trained spine surgeon specializing in complex and minimally invasive spinal surgery, spinal revision surgery, and spinal deformity surgery for acute and chronic back pain relief. He combines advanced surgical techniques, vast skills, knowledge, and training to provide evidence-based treatments focused on successful long-term outcomes, with importance on both functionality and an aesthetically pleasing result with minimal to no visible scarring.

Dr. Skovrlj received his undergraduate degree from Clayton State University in Atlanta, GA, and his Doctorate of Medicine from SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. He then completed the Neurosurgery Residency, Complex Spine and Deformity Surgery Fellowship, and Minimally Invasive, Complex Spinal, and Deformity Surgery Fellowship programs at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine in New York City. A member of numerous professional societies with multiple nominations and awards for his contribution to spine surgery, Dr. Skovrlj has over 50 peer-reviewed publications in the field of spine surgery and has presented over 150 clinical research papers at prestigious national and international meetings. He is also affiliated with multiple medical facilities and hospitals in NJ, including Chilton Medical Center and Saint Joseph's University Medical Center.

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