Cervical Foraminotomy Ames IA

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Peter Goodrich Buck
(515) 239-4475
1215 Duff Ave
Ames, IA
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery

Data Provided By:
William A Baird, MD
(515) 233-3431
3911 Stone Brooke Cir
Ames, IA
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Graduation Year: 2007

Data Provided By:
Julie Diane Cassaidy, DDS
(515) 232-2152
707 5th St Ste 102
Ames, IA
Specialties
Orthodontics/Dentofacial Orthopedics

Data Provided By:
Kim J Wass, DDS
(515) 232-2152
Suite 102 707 5th St
Ames, IA
Specialties
Orthodontics/Dentofacial Orthopedics

Data Provided By:
David Kent Sneller
(515) 239-4475
1215 Duff Ave
Ames, IA
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery

Data Provided By:
Robert Graham Gitchell, MD
(515) 239-4475
PO Box 3014
Ames, IA
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Ia Coll Of Med, Iowa City Ia 52242
Graduation Year: 1967

Data Provided By:
David Kent Sneller, MD
(515) 239-4475
1215 Duff Ave
Ames, IA
Specialties
Orthopedics
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Ia Coll Of Med, Iowa City Ia 52242
Graduation Year: 1995

Data Provided By:
Thomas Andrew Greenwald
(515) 239-4475
1215 Duff Ave
Ames, IA
Specialty
Orthopedic Surgery

Data Provided By:
Thomas M Stark, DDS
(515) 232-2255
1212 Duff Ave
Ames, IA
Specialties
Orthodontics/Dentofacial Orthopedics

Data Provided By:
James Andrew Friederich, MD
(515) 239-4400
3112 Greenwood Rd
Ames, IA
Specialties
Orthopedics, Hand Surgery
Gender
Male
Education
Medical School: Univ Of Ia Coll Of Med, Iowa City Ia 52242
Graduation Year: 1986

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Cervical Foraminotomy

A Patient's Guide to Cervical Foraminotomy

Introduction

Foraminotomy is a surgical procedure for widening the area where the spinal nerve roots exit the spinal column. A foramen is the opening around the nerve root, and otomy refers to the medical procedure for enlarging the opening. In this procedure, surgeons widen the passageway to relieve pressure where the spinal nerve is being squeezed in the foramen.

This guide will help you understand

  • why the procedure becomes necessary
  • what surgeons hope to achieve
  • what to expect as you recover

Anatomy

What parts of the neck are affected?

The spine is made of a column of bones. Each bone, or vertebra, is formed by a round block of bone, called a vertebral body. The spinal canal is a hollow tube formed by the bony rings of all the vertebrae. The spinal canal surrounds and protects the spinal cord within the spine. There are seven vertebrae in the neck that form the area known as the cervical spine. The vertebrae are separated by intervertebral discs.

Traveling from the brain down through the spinal column, the spinal cord sends out nerve branches through openings on both sides of each vertebra. These openings are called the neural foramina. (The term used to describe a single opening is foramen.)

The intervertebral disc sits directly in front of the opening. A bulged or herniated disc can narrow the opening and put pressure on the nerve. A facet joint sits in back of the foramen. Bone spurs that form on the facet joint can project into the tunnel, narrowing the hole and pinching the nerve.

Rationale

What do surgeons hope to achieve?

Foraminotomy alleviates the symptoms of foraminal stenosis. In foraminal stenosis, a nerve root is compressed inside the neural foramen. This compression is usually the result of degenerative (or wear and tear) changes in the spine.

View animation of disc collapse

Wear and tear from repeated stresses and strains on the neck can cause a spinal disc to begin to collapse. As the space between the vertebral bodies shrinks, the opening around the nerve root narrows. This squeezes the nerve. The nerve root is further squeezed in the foramen when the facet joint lining the outer edge of the foramen becomes inflamed and enlarged as a result of the same degenerative changes.

The degenerative process can also cause bone spurs to develop and point into the foramen, causing further irritation. In a foraminotomy, the surgeon removes the tissues around the edges of the foramen, essentially widening the opening in order to take pressure off the nerve root.

Preparations

How will I prepare for surgery?

The decision to proceed with surgery must be made jointly by you and your surgeon. You should understand as much about the procedure as possible. If you have concerns or questions, you should talk to your surgeon.

Once you decide on surgery, you need to take several steps. Your surgeon may suggest a...

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