What is a fenestration operation? My father says this is what he's having for his back problems. I think he has a herniated disc.
Fenestration comes from the Latin root word fenestra, which means window. Surgical fenestration for a disc problem is an operation to cut an opening in the vertebral bone. By doing this, the surgeon can remove the disc without creating an unstable spine.

When the disc protrudes or herniates, it can put pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves as they leave the spinal cord. The resulting symptoms can be very disabling. Back and leg pain, numbness, and muscle weakness can occur. Even worse, paralysis is even possible.

With the new minimally invasive, endoscopic procedures, surgeons can use a small opening (fenestra) and avoid cutting a large portion of the bone out. Removing the bone from around the disc is called a laminectomy. The lamina is the curved arch of bone that forms a circle around the spinal cord to protect it. Fenestration takes the place of a laminectomy.

Fenestration just cuts a hole in the lamina. Complications can still occur with this operation. Spinal cord fluid can leak if the covering over the spinal cord it nicked or cut by mistake. Infection is always a risk with any operation. And whenever the spinal cord is involved, there's always the small chance of paralysis.