One common traditional open back surgical procedure is the discectomy and fusion, an operation in which the surgeon removes all or part of a damaged intervertebral disc, replaces it with a bone graft and stabilizes the spine with metal plates or braces that attach to the vertebrae with bone screws. The term anterior cervical discectomy and fusion specifies several details pertaining to the surgery:
• Anterior means “front.” The surgeon will perform the operation via the front side of the body—accessing the anterior aspect of the spine.
• Cervical refers to the cervical spine—the portion of the spine that runs through the neck. The surgeon will be operating on and around vertebrae in the neck.
• Discectomy specifies the type of surgery—removing (-ectomy) the disc.
• Fusion specifies that, after the discectomy is complete, the surgeon will fuse the vertebrae together using bone grafts and metal implants.
Thus, an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery is one in which the surgeon accesses the neck vertebrae through the front of the neck, removes the intervertebral disc and fuses the vertebrae together.
Because it is so invasive, this procedure is only a viable option after a thorough non-invasive treatment program has failed to alleviate radiculopathy caused by a herniated disc, bone spurs or other spinal condition. As your physician will advise you, the first course of treatment should always focus on rest, rehabilitation and exercise while managing pain with medication when necessary. If the pain is consistent for a matter of months, your physician might then suggest surgery as an option—but why assume that a drastic invasive operation that will slow you down for weeks or months is your only choice?
Consider this: Laser Spine Institute surgeons have performed tens of thousands of minimally invasive spine procedures, which are much less invasive than an open spine fusion. Our state-of-the-art techniques enable our surgeons to address the trouble spot in your spine, and our procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, unlike traditional open spine surgery.
For more information, contact Laser Spine Institute today to schedule your initial consultation and to request a review of your MRI or CT scan.