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O. Wayne Houser, Burton M. Onofrio, Gary M. Miller, W. Neath Folger, Patsy L. Smith and Douglas A. Kallman

✓ The surgical and computerized tomographic myelography (CTM) features of 134 stenotic foraminal canals were correlated retrospectively in 95 patients. The myelographic site of stenosis was the entrance to the foraminal canal in 70 cases (52%) and the canal itself in 37 (28%); the site was not identified definitively in 27 (20%). At the entrance to the foraminal canal, encroachment on the adjacent nerve root was by a cartilaginous cap in 10 cases (8%), a bony osteophyte in 17 (13%), a synovial cyst in one (1%), and a combination of a bony and cartilaginous osteophyte in 42 (31%). The diagnostic features of stenosis within the foraminal canal were more variable. Small bone spurs arising from the uncovertebral process encroached on the anterior aspect of the foramen in 29 instances (22%), accompanied in all cases by either a congenitally narrow canal (in 16) or a diffuse osteophytically narrowed canal (in 13); osteophytes arising from the superior facet in eight instances (6%) were larger and encroached on the posterior aspect of the foramen. Diagnosis on the basis of CTM is difficult because stenosis was readily evident as a bone spur in only 13% of cases, could not be distinguished from prolapsed disc in 39%, had to be differentiated from a congenitally narrow foraminal canal in 27%, and was frankly missed in 20% of the instances of stenosis.