Cervical Foraminotomy



Each bone in the spine forms two canals with each bone above it and below it.  One canal is to the left of the spinal cord and the other is to the right.  As the spine ages bits of broken and extruded disc can seep into this space causing impingement on the nerve root.  Also, bone spurs can form in the foraminal canals causing a gradual impingement that can form over years and have sporadic bouts of symptoms.


The symptoms of nerve impingement vary in location, but all have similar symptoms.  Each nerve root that innervates off the spine travels to a separate location throughout the body.  While some nerve roots overlap final destinations, a medical provider can identify what level of the spine is effected by your symptoms and confirm this with imaging.  Stenosis can be seen on a transverse angle x-ray, MRI, or CT.  The symptoms of a nerve that is being impinged include:

  • Radiating pain down an extremity
  • Burning sensations
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Sharp electric like pain

If the symptoms are present in the arms then the problem is in your cervical spine.  If the symptoms are in the butt and legs then the impingement is in the lumbar spine.  Either way.  If you are experiencing any of these symptoms schedule an appointment with any of our spine team today.


A foraminotomy is an operation performed to relieve pressure on a spinal nerve as it exits the spine through an opening called the foraminal canal. If the pressure is in the neck the surgical procedure is called a cervical foraminotomy.  The pressure that a foraminotomy relieves is called Stenosis. During Foraminotomy the surgeon will make an incision on the back side of spine and gently clear a path by pushing the tissue to the side.  When the foraminal canal is exposed the surgeon will clear any debris impinging the nerve root and remove any bone that is narrowing the canal.  After the removal of this debris and bone the impingement on the nerve root will be relieved and the symptoms will be relived if there is not permanent damage from the extended nerve compression.