Lumbar foraminotomy is done under general anesthesia with the patient lying in a face down position on the operating table. Guided by intra-operative fluoroscopy, a midline incision is made over the skin of the lower back over the affected intervertebral space. The back muscles are either cut or retracted to expose the lamina. A small segment of the lamina is removed to reach the neural foramen. A surgical microscope is used to magnify the working area. Microsurgical instruments are then used to remove the disc fragments, overgrown ligaments and bone spurs from the neural foramen. This increases the space around the neural foramen and relieves the compression of the spinal nerves. One or more neural foramina may be operated depending on the individual case. Once completed, the muscles and the soft tissue are placed in their normal position and the incision is closed with sutures.
lumbar: lower portion of the spine made up of 5 vertebrae; connects with the fused bones of the sacrum below.
orthotic: another name for a brace
orthotist: a medical professional who specializes in making custom molded braces.
sacral: the five vertebrae at the base of the spine that provide attachment for the iliac (hip) bones and protect the pelvic organs.
thoracic: middle portion of the spine made up of 12 vertebrae.
axis or rotation while the global muscles have no direct attachment on the spine.