An endoscopic foraminotomy is the least invasive technique used to enlarge the nerve root openings by eliminating the cause of narrowing of the foramina. The foramens are the small openings in each vertebra through which the spinal nerves pass. In some cases, these openings can become partially blocked in a condition known as spinal stenosis, causing nerves and blood flow to the nerves to become impinged, which results in pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, difficulty with walking, and/or a reduction in range of motion. Several spinal conditions can cause changes in the foramina, but the most common include bulging or herniated discs, degenerative disc changes, facet joint syndrome and spondylosis. Aging, injury and excessive wear-and-tear can also be contributing factors to the condition.
In most patients, the endoscopic technique utilizing an endoscopy (scope with a tiny camera) is preferred over an open surgery to resolve the patient’s spinal impingements. An open surgery requires a much larger incision and typically has a longer recovery period, as well as an increased risk of infection.