The top of your spine is made up of seven small vertebrae, separated by soft disks, which support your head and allow your neck to twist, bend and stretch. Damage to your cervical spine due to injury, illness or long-term wear-and-tear may cause pain or stiffness, and ultimately may require surgery.
The type of procedure your neurosurgeon may recommend will depend on the type of pain you're experiencing and its underlying cause, your post-surgery goals and your overall health.
When the cervical disc herniates, the pressure placed on the cervical spine can cause pain and discomfort. If medication or physical therapies are unsuccessful at relieving symptoms, your neurologist may recommend that you undergo a diskectomy, during which the damaged disc is removed. A laminectomy, or removal of any bone spurs which may have formed on the surrounding vertebrae, may also be performed during this procedure.
By removing the pressure on your spine, a cervical diskectomy may provide long-term neck pain relief. Depending on your symptoms and their underlying cause, your neurosurgeon may also suggest an artificial disc replacement or cervical spinal fusion in conjunction with the discectomy.
Cervical Spinal Fusion
A cervical fusion limits the movement of the cervical vertebrae by permanently joining them together using a bone graft or metal rods, screws and/or plates.
Another is a diskectomy, in which the offending portion of the disc that cushions the vertebrae is carefully removed to alleviate the pressure caused by a herniated cervical disc. A complete diskectomy is frequently performed at the same time as a cervical fusion or artificial disc replacement.