Cervical Spine Surgery
You may be a candidate for surgery if conservative therapy is not helping and you are continuing to experience neurological symptoms involving your arms and/or legs.
There are several different cervical spine procedures which can be utilized, the choice of which is influenced by the severity of your case and your health and wellness. In many instances, decompression surgery, a minimally invasive surgery, can be performed to unpinch the nerves and widen the spinal canal.
Minimally invasive surgeries that are commonly performed include disc replacement, disk arthroplasty as well as the microdiscectomy, foraminotomy and the laminectomy.
Such surgeries often relieve pain and associated symptoms, involve a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery period is typically experienced.
In a smaller percentage of patients, spinal instability may require a fusion be performed. This fusion surgery will create a solid union between two or more vertebrae. Various devices may be required to enhance the fusion and support of unstable areas of your cervical spine.
At times, the surgical procedures are combined as the decompression may de-stabilize the spine and create the need for a fusion to add stability.
For more information, please review more details about the individual surgeries below.
Anterior Cervical Discectomy
A cervical disc herniation causing neck pain, arm pain and/or spinal cord compression can be removed through a small incision in the front of the neck. This relieves spinal cord and nerve root pressure and alleviates corresponding pain, weakness, numbness and tingling. This procedure is called an anterior cervical discectomy.
Cervical Disc Replacement
After an anterior cervical discectomy an artificial cervical disc may be inserted instead of performing a fusion under certain circumstances. This helps maintain the alignment and movement of the bones. This is also known as total disc arthroplasty.
Posterior Cervical Surgery
In some situations where there is severe arm pain and/or weakness, these symptoms may be relieved by decompressing the pinched nerve in the neck through a small incision in the back of the neck. This is commonly referred to as posterior cervical microdiscectomy or foramenotomy.
Anterior Cervical Fusion
A fusion is almost always done at the same time as the anterior cervical discectomy in order to stabilize the cervical spine. This relieves pain associated with abnormal movement of the bones, all through a small incision in the front of the neck.