Surgical options for cervical spinal narrowing

Cervical spinal narrowing is the narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck. This is often caused by a degenerative spine condition, such as a bulging disc or bone spur, but can also be caused by traumatic injuries such as whiplash. This condition, commonly referred to as cervical spinal stenosis, can result in chronic pain in the neck and radiating pain in the head, arms and jaw.

If you are experiencing these cervical spinal narrowing symptoms, you should consult your doctor to determine the cause of your pain and discomfort. If a degenerative spine condition is the source of your spinal stenosis, the symptoms will gradually worsen with time. Finding a treatment option for your spine condition should be a top priority to try to avoid spinal surgery.

However, if your condition is caused by an injury, and does not respond to conservative care, spinal surgery may be your best option, depending on the severity of the damage to your cervical spine. Your doctor may order an MRI or CT scan to accurately assess the damage to your spine and determine the best course of action to fit your needs and lifestyle. To learn about the risks that accompany traditional surgery and the benefits of our minimally invasive procedures, read the following article.

Risks of traditional surgery for cervical spinal narrowing

Some mild cases of cervical spinal stenosis can be accurately treated with conservative methods of treatment, including stretches, chiropractic care and physical therapy. For more moderate to severe cases of spinal stenosis, a doctor may recommend surgery for treatment.

If you are recommended to undergo spinal surgery to treat your cervical spinal stenosis, you should research all of your surgical options before moving forward with a treatment. You may find that there are certain risks associated with traditional open back surgery, including:

  • Fusion failure. A false joint, known as pseudarthrosis, may develop if the bones don’t fuse as expected. This may result in additional surgery becoming necessary.
  • Blood clots. Also known as thrombosis; steps must be taken by the surgical team to prevent serious thrombosis-related problems, including a pulmonary embolism.
  • Infection. This is relatively rare but unpredictable. If it occurs beneath the skin, additional surgery may be required. The highly invasive nature of this surgery increases a patient’s risk of infection.
  • Nerve damage. A surgical instrument that bumps or cuts a nerve can cause permanent damage.
  • Excessive blood loss. The large 6- to 8-inch incision that cuts through the muscles surrounding the spine increases a patient’s risk of excessive blood loss.

Before you determine which procedure you would like to proceed with, you should weigh the risks against the possible benefits of surgery.

Minimally invasive alternatives for cervical spinal stenosis

For patients seeking a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery,^ Laser Spine Institute offers minimally invasive spine surgery. Our procedures reduce the risks associated with traditional open back surgery by eliminating the need for a large and highly invasive incision. To learn more about the advantages of our outpatient procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute today.

During our minimally invasive spine surgery, the surgeon will use a less than 1-inch incision to access the spine. The small incision and muscle-sparing techniques reduce the risk of complication and recovery time compared to traditional open spine surgery.^ To learn if you are a candidate for our cervical spinal stenosis procedures, ask our team for a free MRI review.* We can help guide you on your journey to wellness.