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Foraminotomy

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

A foraminotomy is spinal surgery to relieve pressure on a pinched nerve. It is most often done in the neck or lower back.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, or have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • You have clear drainage from your wound and a headache.
  • You have a fever with neck stiffness and a bad headache.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

Call your doctor or surgeon if:

  • You have a fever or chills.
  • Your wound is red, swollen, or draining pus.
  • You have pain or headache that does not get better with pain medicine.
  • Your arm or leg becomes numb or you have difficulty moving it.
  • You cannot control when you urinate or have a bowel movement.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

You may need any of the following:

  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Muscle relaxers may be given to reduce muscle spasms and help relieve your pain.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Wound care:

Carefully wash your wound as directed by your surgeon. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty.

Self-care:

  • Apply heat on the area for 20 to 30 minutes every 2 hours for as many days as directed. This helps decrease pain and muscle spasms.
  • A brace or soft neck collar may be used for a few days to help reduce pain and improve healing. Your surgeon will teach you how to use it properly.
  • Do not sit for longer than 15 to 20 minutes at a time or take long rides in cars or other vehicles for 3 weeks or until your healthcare provider or surgeon says it is okay.
  • Do not twist or bend your spine or climb stairs for 6 weeks or as directed by your healthcare provider or surgeon.
  • Do not lift more than 10 pounds for 6 weeks or as directed by your healthcare provider or surgeon.
  • Gradually increase activity as directed by your healthcare provider or surgeon. Physical therapy is not usually needed but may be recommended.

Follow up with your doctor or surgeon as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.