Anterior Segments of the Spine

The term “anterior” is used to describe the frontal portion of the spine. The spinal column houses the spinal cord and is comprised of vertebrae and intervertebral discs. The anterior portion of each vertebra has a vertebral body, attached to which are two pedicles that reach around toward the posterior end of the vertebra like two arms. These pedicles form a vertebral arch, or hollow canal, through which the spinal cord runs. In between each vertebral body is a cartilaginous pad called an intervertebral disc. The posterior portion of the vertebra has a bony protuberance called a spinous process, which you can feel if you run your hand down the center of your back.


The anterior spine and surgery


If you have a spinal condition like a herniated disc, bulging disc or spondylolisthesis, your physician may suggest that you consider surgery. Spinal fusion is a common operation that requires the surgeon to gain access to the spine through either the front of the body or the back of the body. If your spine condition involves a degenerated intervertebral disc, your surgeon will gain access anteriorly, or through the front of your body, so that the disc – located between the anterior portions of each vertebra – can be removed. If the surgeon does not need to remove the disc for fusion to be performed, he or she may access your spine posteriorly, or through the back of your body, so that the pedicles and spinous processes can be fused, as opposed to the vertebral bodies.


Alternatives to spinal fusion


If you want a more effective treatment option that is minimally invasive, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We specialize in state-of-the-art, minimally invasive technology that has helped tens of thousands of people find relief from neck and back pain. To find out more, request an MRI review to determine if you are a candidate for surgery.