Microsurgical nerve root canal widening without fusion for lumbosacral intervertebral foraminal stenosis: technical notes and early results

Spinal Cord. 1996 Nov;34(11):644-50. doi: 10.1038/sc.1996.116.


We describe a technique for microsurgical widening of the nerve root canal in the lumbosacral spine. We also report our early results in 31 patients (19 men and 12 women; average follow-up, 3.2 years) with such foraminal stenosis but without osseous defects in the pars interarticularis and/or spondylolisthesis. The affected nerve root was decompressed by interlaminar medial foraminotomy followed by lateral laminotomy and foraminotomy using a microsurgical technique. The procedure aimed at preserving bony continuity of the pars interarticularis and segmental motion. Neurological results showed a favourable improvement of radicular symptoms and of intermittent claudication. The need for segmental fusion at the operated segment was excluded in 30 patients, but one patient subsequently required a transpedicular screw procedure with bone grafting. We recommend the present technique for effective decompression of the nerve root within the neural foramen, simultaneously maintaining lumbar spine mobile function.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microsurgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Spinal Nerve Roots / surgery*
  • Spinal Stenosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Stenosis / surgery*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed