ForaminotomyA surgical procedure that enlarges the area around one of the bones in your spinal column. The surgery relieves pressure on compressed nerves. Your spinal column is made up of a chain of bones called vertebrae. The intervertebral discs sit above and below the flat portion of each vertebra to provide support. Your spinal column houses your spinal cord and helps protect it from injury. The spinal cord sends sensory information from the body to the brain. The spinal cord also sends commands from the brain to the body. Nerves spread out from the spinal cord, sending and receiving this information. They exit the spinal column through a small hole (intervertebral foramen) that lies between the vertebrae.

Sometimes these openings can become too small. When that happens, the compressed nerve can cause symptoms such as pain, tingling in the arms and legs, and weakness. The exact symptoms depends on the location of the compressed nerve along the spinal column. During your foraminotomy, your surgeon will make a cut (incision) on your back or neck and expose the affected vertebra. Then he or she can surgically widen your intervertebral foramen, removing whatever blockages are present.

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