Cervical Discectomy Spine Surgery
Cervical discectomy is a well known procedure for treating the neck problems one faces due to disc bulge or disc herniation. Because of the prolapsed intervertebral disc collapse it causes compression in the spinal cord and this result leads to numbness and pain. To treat the cervical discectomy either part of the disc fragments or the whole disc will be removed to relieve the person from pain.
In the human spine the cervical segment consists of 7 cervical vertebrae which are separated by soft intervertebral discs. These discs act as shock absorption and provide free movement to the neck. Due to age and other factors the disc starts to lose out its water content and starts to wear and tear gradually which reduces the intervertebral height. Due to this degeneration that takes place in the vertebral body, the disc fragments start to encroach into the foramen compressing the roots resulting in pain.
Who requires cervical discectomy?
Those people who have been suffering from a neck pain, having an instable walk, lack of bowel and bladder control in spite of the regular treatment methods such as exercises, medications are ideal for this procedure.
The disc may herniate backwards to compress the cord or might also bulge sideways to compress the nerve. This kind of compression may lead to numbness and pain affecting the bowel and bladder functionality.
Approaches towards the Treatment:
Anterior approach and posterior approach are the two methods used to treat cervical discectomy.
Anterior approach is a preferable method opted by the surgeons as they feel it is easy to access the disc with little muscle tissue on the way and the complete disc removal is possible without any recurrence of disc herniation. This particular approach provides a good posture to all cervical vertebrae from C2 to cervicothoracic junction. Because of the limited amount of dissection it helps to limit the pain that arises out of the post-operation.
Posterior approach is another method but which is a little complicated as too many tissues have to traversed to reach the disc. There are chances of injury to the spinal cord while trying to reach to the disc. But using this method, re-herniation could be possible as complete disc removal is not possible. The doctors feel the advantage in this method is that, spinal fusion is not required so the natural spine movement is still preserved.
Outcome of the Surgery:
Patients are normally discharged after 3-4 days of the surgery from the hospital and can resume back to work gradually, but heavy neck movements to be avoided which will affect the graft. Mild and gentle exercises are advisable which helps in strengthening the muscles.