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What is the difference between Stenosis and Encroachment?

DonnabeDDonnabe Posts: 597
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:54 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I have "Left neural forminal encroachment" and "Left neural forminal stenosis" In different discs? What is the difference between stenosis and encroachment?
ACDF C4-5 June 23rd, 2011

Another surgery in the near future. I am 26 years old.

Current Meds- Norco 7.5/325, Cymbalta 60mg, Gabapentin, Adderall 20mg


  • MetalneckMetalneck Island of Misfit toysPosts: 1,364
    but I see them this way ....

    Stenosis is narowing of a pre-defined space.

    Encroachment would be invaision into a pre-defined space.

    Encroachment could cause stenosis - but stenosis would not cause encroachment.

    If that makes any sense. If not see wikipedia!! or google or bing.


    Spine-health Moderator
    Welcome to Spine-Health  Please read the linked guidelines!!

  • Dave gave a really good definition. My take on it, (maybe a different view, same result). With encroachment think of that as something moving "into" a space and narrowing it. More commonly caused by a disk or bone spurs (osteophytes) vs straight stenosis is a narrowing (also caused if disk or spurs are causing the narrowing) due to calcification, epidural fat - things that wrap around like choking?

    Either one can cause pain, either one can cause a result in symptoms similar to stenosis. With encroachment though, it hasn't narrowed said area enough to qualify as stenosis - whatever that threshold is?

    PCTF C4 - T2, Laminectomies C5, C6 & C7. Severe Palsy left arm/hand.
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