Cervical spine operation

A cervical spine operation is a type of procedure aimed to treat the painful symptoms of conditions that develop in the cervical (upper) spine.

Generally, a cervical spine operation is considered a last-resort method of treatment. Unless the condition becomes a medical emergency, patients will usually first attempt a course of conservative treatment for pain relief before surgery becomes an option. In many cases, a cervical spine operation can be avoided altogether with a series of doctor recommended nonsurgical therapies.

The most common conservative treatments for cervical spine conditions include:

  • Medication, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Hot/cold compresses
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Massage therapy
  • Stretches

After several weeks or months of these treatments, you and your doctor can discuss any pain and symptoms you may still be experiencing. At that point, you can decide if continuing conservative treatment or the possibility of a cervical spine operation may be your best option for lasting pain relief.

Conditions treated with cervical spine operations

Many of the common spine conditions that affect the neck and upper back can be treated with a cervical spine operation, including:

  • Herniated discs
  • Bulging discs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Foraminal stenosis
  • Bone spurs
  • Arthritis of the spine

These conditions can cause pain not only in the neck but also in the shoulders, arms and even hands. Left untreated, these symptoms can hinder even the simplest daily tasks, such as reading, writing or driving.

Types of cervical spine operations available

There are two main approaches to cervical spine surgery available: traditional open neck surgery and minimally invasive spine surgery.

While every operation comes with potential risks and benefits, minimally invasive spine surgery is an alternative to traditional open neck surgery that can offer many advantages.

Traditional open neck surgery involves a large incision to access the spine, which requires disruption of the muscles in the neck. This can lead to a long recovery time and risk of complication after surgery due to factors such as surgical site infection and increased scar tissue that may build up from the large incision.

In contrast, minimally invasive spine surgery uses a much smaller incision to avoid unnecessary damage and disruption to the surrounding muscles to reach the spine. At Laser Spine Institute, we perform these procedures in our outpatient surgery centers, allowing patients to avoid hospital-associated costs with a reduced recovery time and less risk of infection than traditional open spine procedures.^ To learn more about these procedures and our commitment to patient-centered care, contact us today.

We can let you know if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures by providing a free MRI review* to you.