Cervical Disc Surgery
Treating Neck and Arm Pain and Weakness
Raleigh Neurosurgical Clinic’s neurosurgeons are experts in the causes and treatments of cervical disc surgery. One of the most common cervical spine problems is a damaged disc. A disc may be injured by a sudden movement (herniate), or it may wear out gradually (degenerate). A worn-out disc may become so flat that the vertebrae above and below it touch or slip back and forth. As discs wear out, abnormal bone growths (bone spurs) can form on the vertebrae and in the foramina, causing narrowing (stenosis).
Most cervical disc problems improve with conservative care. But many patients find their pain and weakness relieved only after cervical disc surgery. During this surgery, your doctor may be able to remove the part of the troublesome disc causing your symptoms. But surgery has its limitations – it can’t remove all the effects of overuse or aging, and it does have risks. Yet, it may be the way you can take control of your neck and life again.During surgery, your doctor may remove all or part of the disc that is causing your problem. This is called a discectomy. There may also be bone spurs pressing on the nerves or spinal cord that have to be removed also. Your cervical spine may be reached from the front (anterior approach) or the back (posterior approach) of your neck. With the anterior approach the physician may also perform a fusion in order to add stability to your neck.
Your physician will recommend the approach that best fits your situation. Each patient is different, and there are several factors that determine what kind of surgery the doctor feels will give you the best results. You and your surgeon will continue to work together during your recovery. Before you leave the hospital, your surgeon may schedule follow-up visits with you so he or she can evaluate your progress, advise you about your activity level, and adjust any medications, if necessary. Your doctor may recommend follow-up tests to make sure you are healing properly.