Endoscopic Foraminalplasty Overview
The endoscopic foraminalplasty is one of the least invasive procedures used to relieve pressure on the exiting nerve or spinal cord, caused by herniated disc, bone spurs and scar tissue. Degenerative disc, foraminal stenosis and facet disease are all conditions that cause this narrowing of the spine or foramen. Using an endoscopic approach, this technique uses ronguers, reamers and small-motorized burrs through the endoscope, to selectively take some bone in order to enlarge the foramen thus decompressing the nerves.
Benefits of Endoscopic Foraminalplasty vs. Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion (TLIF)
- Utilizes an HD camera coupled to an endoscope which provides the physician a superior view to that of traditional surgical techniques
- No spinal fusion is necessary thus preserving the spinal column and the disc
- Less than a ½ inch – incision minimizes potential skin scarring
- No muscle or tissue tearing thus less scar tissue and preserve spinal mobility
- No significant blood loss
- Conscious sedation reduces the risk associated with general anesthesia
- Less post-operative pain and need for narcotic medicines
- Less recovery time needed
- Return to work sooner (Early as one week)
What Conditions Does Endoscopic Foraminalplasty Treat?
- Spinal and foraminal stenosis
- Bulging disc
- Failed back surgery syndrome
- Degenerative disc disease
- Sciatica pain
- Radicular pain
- Bone spurs
- Arthritis of the facet or vertebral bodies
How is this procedure performed?
Under local anesthesia and x-ray fluoroscopy, a needle, guidewire and blunt dilator are placed through a ½ inch skin incision through the muscle of the back, between the vertebrae into the herniated disc space. A 7mm metal tube is placed over the dilator to create access to the disc. An innovative working channel endoscope is coupled with an HD video camera to enhance visualization for the physician. Through the endoscope, small specially designed microscopic instruments are the sent down the hollow center of the endoscope to remove a portion of the offending disc, facet joint or scar tissue that may be compressing a spinal nerve. A laser and a radiofrequency probe can be used to assist the physician in decompressing the foramen allowing the spinal nerve to function again.
The procedure takes about an hour on average. You will likely feel minimal pain or discomfort. The incision is secured with one stitch and bandage. Post-operative, patients usually recover for a few hours and then go home.
Recovery depends on how well you and your body responds to the procedure. Many patients will feel better immediately after surgery. Some patients can go back to sedentary work within a week. Be careful to listen and comply with your physician’s post- operative instructions. Although you may feel better it is best to not do any heavy lifting at all until cleared by your physician.