Cervical spine operation

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

Generally, a cervical spine operation is considered a last resort method of treatment. Unless the condition becomes a medical emergency, patients are often required to undergo several months 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 nonsurgical therapies.

The most common conservative treatments for cervical spine conditions include:

  • Pain medication
  • Hot/cold compresses
  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Massage therapy
  • Stretches

After several 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 another round of conservative treatment or a cervical spine operation is your best option for 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 disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Foraminal stenosis
  • Bone spur
  • 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 types of 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 larger incision to access the spine, sometimes requiring the muscles in the neck to be cut or torn. This can lead to a longer recovery time and more risk of complication after surgery due to the 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, contact us today. We can let you know if you are a candidate for one of our procedures by providing a no-cost MRI review* to you.