What Is Foraminal Stenosis?


Foraminal stenosis is a variation of spinal stenosis, a medical condition that causes the spinal canal to narrow and compress upon the spinal cord and nerves.

Foraminal Stenosis vs. Central Stenosis

Stenosis most commonly occurs in two ways: central stenosis, which is the narrowing of the entire spinal canal, and foraminal stenosis, a narrowing of the foramen through which the nerve root exits the spinal canal.


The first symptoms of stenosis are lower back pain and neck pain, which over time may lead to limping. Other symptoms include pain or abnormal sensations in the legs, thighs, feet or buttocks and loss of bladder or bowel control.

Diagnosing Stenosis

The best way to diagnose stenosis is the use of an MRI or CAT scan, which can determine the exact type of stenosis and the degree of degeneration.

Surgical Treatments

Stenosis can be treated with a laminectomy, which is a removal of the lamina or "roof" of the spinal canal in order to relieve the pressure. This procedure is usually combined with spinal fusion procedures in order to prevent destabilization of the spine.

Risk of Recurrence

A laminectomy is not without risk. After the procedure, there is a possibility that scar tissue can form where the lamina was removed from the spinal canal, creating similar pressure and symptoms in the patient.

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