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Cervical Disc Surgery

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What Is Cervical Disc Surgery?

Cervical disc surgery is a surgical procedure where degenerated and damaged cervical discs are removed and replaced with bone. The cervical discs in the body act as shock absorbers and cushions between the cervical spine (the neck) and the bones (the vertebra).

Damaged discs, whether damaged by degeneration or trauma, can be extremely painful. When part of the disc moves from its normal position, it causes a lot of pressure on the central spinal cord or the nerve roots. Over time, the body forms bone spurs that are also known as osteophytes as a reaction to the disrupted discs. The osteophytes cause significant pressure on the spinal cord and the roots of the nerves.

Disc disruption can be a major source of neck pain, weakness, and numbness that starts from the neck and moves to both arms.

What Are The Treatments For Disc Herniation?

The most common treatment for symptomatic cervical disc disease involves medication, physical therapy, and occasional spinal injections.

Some patients with disc herniation, which is localized on one side of the spinal canal, are treated with a procedure that is done at the back of the neck known as lamino- foraminotomy or posterior discectomy.

Traditional operations of the symptomatic cervical disc disease usually mean fusion surgery and anterior cervical discectomy. In these techniques, the doctor makes an incision in the front of the neck. This allows the surgeon to remove the disrupted disc that creates bone spurs. It relieves pressure on the nerve roots and spinal cord.

Once the disc has been removed, the gap that is created between the two bones is filled with a piece of bone that is grafted from your pelvis. Sometimes, it is also filled with synthetic titanium or plastic that is medical grade.

Once the pressure from the bones is relieved, the procedure is meant to cause the two bones to fuse together. In this fusion procedure, plate screws are frequently applied to the front of the spine, thus providing stability, which ensures that solid fusion is achieved.

Neck_Pain

When Is Cervical Disc Surgery Recommended?

If you experience pain for more than 12 weeks after the treatment procedures have been followed, then surgery can be considered.

Dr. Doerr Orthopedic Surgeon

What Are the Types of Cervical Disc Problems?

What is Cervical Radiculopathy?

Cervical radiculopathy is a clinical description of neurological symptoms resulting from any type of condition that irritates nerves in the neck.

What Are The Symptoms Of Cervical Radiculopathy?

Pain, numbness, or weakness can appear along the nerve pathways into the shoulder, arm, and hand. This is commonly attributed to nerve irritation through compression or inflammation.

What Are the Procedures For Cervical Radiculopathy?

  • Spinal Stenosis
    • Spinal stenosis is a procedure that removes pressure on the spinal cord. It has a surgical success rate of 90%<./li>
  • Anterior Cervical Discectomy
    • Anterior cervical discectomy is meant to relieve neck pain caused by nerve pinching at the herniated disc.
  • Laminoplasty
    • Laminoplasty is a procedure meant to create more room for the spinal cord at the spinal canal and relives pain in the nerve roots.

What Is Cervical Degenerative Disc Disease?

Cervical degenerative disc disease is a common cause of radiculopathy in aging patients. Discs become flatter and less flexible in the cervical spine during degeneration of the spine.

When Is Surgery Recommended?

If neurological symptoms are likely caused by degenerative disc disease and risk of permanent nerve damage is present, surgery may be recommended. Symptoms like arm numbness and/or weakness, or trouble with walking or bowel control, could be cause for surgery.

What Are The Non-Surgical Treatment Options?

  • Rest or activity modification
  • Physical Therapy
  • Pain management with medication

What Are Herniated Discs?

Herniated discs in the neck can leak fluid into the spinal canal or nerve root tunnel. This condition can produce cervical radiculopathy. A herniated disc can cause severe pain and symptoms that disrupt your quality of life. However, surgery is rarely necessary unless symptoms are progressively worsening or fail to improve.

What Are The Complications And Risks Of Cervical Disc Surgery

As with any surgery, there are a number of possible risks and complications. The rate of occurrence is variable and dependent mainly on individual patient conditions. Although cervical disc surgery is generally regarded as safe, there are several possible complications:

  • Infections
  • Failure to heal
  • Chronic neck pain
  • Reaction to anesthesia
  • Excessive bleedings
  • Damage to the nerves, esophagus, spinal cord, and vocal cords

How Should I Prepare For Cervical Disc Surgery?

Before you go for the cervical disc procedure, you need to make your home a conducive environment for you to recover fast.

  • Place the phone in a convenient area
  • Purchase easy-to-make foods
  • Find a friend to help you with the chores
  • Move essential items to top shelves to avoid bending
  • Stop Smoking
  • Purchase a tub seat to make your recovery easier and safer
  • You may need a walker, a long-handled reacher, and elevated commode

You also need to ensure that you visit your doctor to rule out any medical complications such as allergies.

Recovering From Cervical Disc Surgery

After surgery, you are more likely to be able to move around in a few hours, and you can choose to go home either the same day or the next. You will feel some discomfort in the area that is operated on, but it is likely to ease. Most patients are placed in a cervical collar for six weeks. The fusion takes anywhere between three and 12 months to become solid, and you may still have symptoms during this time. You may speed up the healing process by eating healthy, regular workouts, and practicing good posture.

  • Follow Medical Instruction
  • Don't Smoke
  • Practice Good Posture
  • Eat Healthy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Rest
  • Take Medication as Suggested
  • Drink Water

Information contained in this site relates to medical topics and issues; however, no information in the site should be construed as medical advice. All questions regarding your health or possible health problems should be directed to your physician. Orthopaedic Associates does not guarantee medical recovery or the successful outcomes described in this website.

Orthopedic Specialists

Jeffrey Hessing, MD and Timothy Doerr, MD have a passion for helping others. They have a combined 50 years of orthopedic excellence dedicated to the people of the Boise area. All of our surgeons are board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Dr. Doerr

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