Anterior Cervical Discectomy

Cervical spine

What is an Anterior Cervical Discectomy?

An anterior cervical discectomy is a common surgical procedure used to treat damaged cervical disc (disc in the neck). It is generally reserved for patients who are experiencing significant pain and weakness due to nerve root compression. The goal of the surgery is to remove the ruptured disc to relieve pressure on the nerve root in the cervical spine which can be the source of pain for many individuals.

Anterior Cervical Discectomy Procedure

The procedure is performed through a small incision in the front of the neck (anterior). The soft tissue in the neck is moved aside and the damaged disc can be accessed and removed. The surgery is most often performed with a spinal fusion of the vertebrae around the removed disc to stabilize the neck and restore function. Your neurosurgeon can use a bone graft to fill the space of the missing disc to complete the fusion. It will take several months for the bones to fuse completely. It is possible that the surgeon will need to use plates or screws for additional stability to the spine.

Post Surgery Recommendations

The anterior cervical discectomy may require a couple of days in the hospital to gradually increase activities such as walking. Your doctor will provide detailed instructions on the activities to avoid during this important healing period. Patients may be encouraged, after a brief recovery period, to take daily walks to increase stamina. Pain is your signal to stop the activity. To speed recovery, consider the following:

  • Maintaining a healthy attitude
  • Healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Get plenty of rest to promote healing
  • Do not overdo or overuse your neck
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