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gwennie17gwennie17 Posts: 2,957
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Has anyone had surgery for a lumbar foraminotomy ONLY??

I had a one level fusion last January but have continued to have sciatic pain. I've tried a variety of treatments, but nothing is helping, so have decided to have the surgeon go in and shave off all the gunk that has filled in the L-5 foramen.

I wondered if anyone has had this done without any other procedure and how long the recovery was. I know it will be much easier than the fusion, but he still has to cut through the first incision and through that big back muscle.

Thanks for any input you might have.


  • Sorry...can't help you. I've had a cervical foraminotomy, but not a lumbar.
  • I wish I could help you, but I can't, and I am a bit puzzled. You wrote you had a one-level fusion followed up by a foraminotomy, What puzzles me is that when I had my three-level fusion, foraminotomies and laminectomies were part of the process. So I don't understand what exactly did you have when they did the fusion? Just inserted the bonechips and insrumentation without cleaning out your vetebrae?

    If you can tell me more, I would be interested hearing it.
  • This is one level lower than my fusion. Yes, during the fusion, I also had laminectomy and foraminotomy, a cage and BMP. My surgeon wanted to do as little surgery as he could get by with and that's one reason I selected him.

    I had consultations with 8 different specialists. Two said I needed at least a two level fusion, perhaps as many as 5 levels...that they wouldn't know for sure till they got in there. The others all said they would perform a one level fusion at L4-5 where I had spondylolisthesis. They all felt this would take care of the sciatic pain I had lived with for 3 years.

    As it turned out, it didn't quite take care of the problem. I developed a new and different pain while still in the hospital. This pain also keeps me from being able to stand for more than a couple minutes or walk farther than about a block (--which is better than I was prior to the fusion!) After going through intensive PT and trying a nerve block, ESI and having an EMG, the pain seems to be coming from the L5 nerve root.

    So I decided to try this procedure to see if it will help or take care of the problem.
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