A foraminotomy is a decompression surgery that is performed to enlarge the passageway where a spinal nerve root exits the spinal canal. The term foraminotomy is derived from the medical term for a hollow passageway—foramen. The latter half of the term foraminotomy—otomy—means to open. During a foraminotomy, the surgeon removes bone or tissue that obstructs the passageway and compresses (pinches) the spinal nerve root, which can cause inflammation and pain. The nerve (neuro) passageways are called neuroforamen.