what is neck pain
spine anatomy
Spine Imaging
physical exam
types of neck pain
causes of neck pain
surgical procedures
review of cervical surgery cases
research
Patient Information
Meet our doctors
FAQ
site map
Do you know your diagnosis?
Anterior Cervical Discectomy


Page 2:
The Operation
Page 3:
Hospital Recovery
Home Recovery
Healing and Recovery
Making Sure You Understand
Glossary

 

Page
The Operation
Incision

IncisionSurgery for anterior cervical disectomy is performed with the patient lying on his or her back. A small incision is made in the front of the neck, to one side. (Fig. 3)


Exposure and removal of the herniated disc

After fat and muscle are pulled aside with a retractor, the disc is exposed between the vertebrae. An operating microscope may be used as part of the disc is removed with a forcep (Fig. 4).

Removal of Disc

Specialized instruments or a surgical drill may be used to enlarge the disc space (Fig. 5). This will help the surgeon to empty the disc space fully and relieve any pressure on the nerve or spinal cord from bone spurs or the ruptured disc.

Disc Space Enlarged

Placement of the bone graft

If your surgeon has chosen to use a bone graft, it will be placed in the disc space to help fuse the vertebrae it lies between (Fig. 6). Any of several graft shapes may be used.

Bone Graft

Incision 2Incision closure

The operation is completed when the neck incision is closed in several layers (Fig. 7). Unless dissolving suture material is used, the skin sutures (stitches) or staples will have to be removed after the incision has healed.




Risk

Certain risks must be considered with any surgery. Although every precaution will be taken to avoid complications, among the most common risks possible with surgery are: infection, excessive bleeding (hemorrhage), and an adverse reaction to anesthesia. Other risks possible with anterior cervical discectomy include: stroke; injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve, which causes hoarseness and may or may not be permanent; and injury to the involved nerve root(s) or the spinal cord, both of which can cause varying types and degrees of paralysis. Clinical experience and scientific calculation indicate that, in general, surgical risks are limited; however, surgery remains a human effort. Unforeseen circumstances can complicate any surgical procedure and lead to serious or even life-threatening situations. Although such complications are infrequent, you and your family should feel free to discuss the question of risk with your physician.
not intended as a substitute for medical advise.  Always consult your physician about your medical condidion.
Last modified: March 7th, 2011