Most neck pain responds well to non-surgical remedies. There are times, however, when surgery is necessary to relieve nerve pressure or correct a structural problem within the seven bones of the neck. Fractures or instability of the cervical spine and situations where there’s loss of bladder control or other serious issues also usually require surgery.
Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion
Performed through the front of the neck, anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is the most common type of neck surgery. The procedure involves the removal of the damaged disc and a fusion to stabilize the cervical spine.
A discectomy, which can be performed through the back of the neck as a posterior cervical decompression, involves removal of disc material that’s pressing on adjacent nerves. The surgery can be performed with or without a fusion.
Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement
Meant to be an alternative to ACDF, this type of neck surgery involves the replacement of a damaged disc with an artificial one. The main benefit of this procedure is preservation of range of motion.
The relief of nerve pressure in the form of a spinal decompression surgery can involve several different surgeries, including:
- Anterior cervical corpectomy: This procedure involves the removal of a cylindrical bone in the front of a vertebra.
- Posterior cervical laminectomy: The back part of a vertebra (lamina) is removed with this type of decompression surgery. Sometimes a fusion is necessary with this option.
- Posterior cervical laminoplasty: Only part of the lamina is removed, or cut, to make more room for nerves with this surgical procedure.
Posterior Cervical Foraminotomy
A small part of the foramen, a hallow opening between vertebrae for spinal nerve roots, is removed when this surgery is performed. If a herniated disc is pressing on a nerve, part of that disc may also be removed. If a bone spur is causing the nerve compression, it will be removed.
The outcome of any neck surgery depends on several factors, such as the extent of the initial problem and a patient’s overall health. Advances in technology and a shift towards minimally invasive spine procedures have helped make most spine-related surgeries more reliable.
Learn more about surgical options for neck pain by reaching out to The Spine Institute. As the leading center of spine surgery Los Angeles patients trust, we can help identify the root of your pain and identify all possible treatment options, both surgical and non-surgical. Call our office today at (310) 858-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation.