An anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is a surgical procedure that removes the damaged disc to alleviate nerve root or spinal cord pressure. It can also reduce tingling, numbness, and pain caused by spinal cord or nerve root pressure. A discectomy is a type of surgical decompression. This procedure is also known as an anterior cervical decompression.
Surgeons complete the process in two parts. The first part involves removing a disc from in between vertebral bones. The second part is the fusion which involves placing implants or a bone graft in the place of the disc.
Anterior cervical discectomies typically treat:
- Cervical herniated disc
- Cervical degenerative disc disease
- Cervical spinal stenosis
The Anterior Cervical Approach
This procedure is performed using an anterior approach, which means it occurs through the front of the patient’s neck instead of the back. This method has many advantages. The main advantage is that it allows the surgeon to access the disc directly. There is also less preoperative pain, as it is easier for the surgeon to reach the spine.
A part of the procedure involves an incision in the front of the neck. The surgeon will also make a small cut in the thin vestigial muscles in the neck. This helps eliminate postoperative pain.
It is important to remember that not all anterior cervical discectomy procedures are performed the same way. There are a number of variations. Surgeons can inform patients of the surgical approach most appropriate for them. The doctor can also make the patient aware of the potential complications and risks of the surgery.
Most patients are released shortly after their procedure. However, some people will have to spend one night in the hospital. Recovery tends to last four to six weeks, allowing the patient to return to their normal routine afterward. Keep in mind that it can take 12 to 18 months for the fusion to mature.
The condition of your spine and overall health will determine how long it takes for you to recover. Your surgeon will inform you about the activities you should avoid during your recovery period. Schedule an appointment to speak with a spine expert at Garden State Pain Control today. We can assess your current condition and suggest the necessary treatment.