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Anterior Cervical Discectomy

February 14, 2012 499 No of hits
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Anterior Cervical Discectomy

Anterior cervical discectomy is the removal of a spinal disc in the neck through a frontal, or anterior, incision. The neck is made up of seven vertebrae called the cervical spine. When a disc in the cervical spine ruptures it is called a herniated disc and causes neck pain accompanied by numbness and tingling that radiates down the arms. This can be further complicated by bone spurs that will accumulate around the herniated discs.

The anterior approach is the preferred method for accessing the disc because from the front the surgeon can reach the disc without moving the spinal cord. After making a horizontal incision in the front of the neck he moves aside the esophagus, trachea and neck muscles and inserts a needle into the disc space in order to take an X-ray to verify that he is at the proper disc. Once verified, the disc is removed entirely or partially, depending on the circumstances of the case. In some cases bone spurs or disc material may have entered the spinal canal and the surgeon will remove a ligament to allow him access to this area in order to remove them.

In a few cases the surgeon will leave the space where the disc was removed open but in the majority of cases he will fuse the spine with a bone graft. This prevents the space from collapsing and allows the two vertebrae to fuse as the surgical site heals. This enables the spine to heal without an abnormal curve and provides adequate space for the spinal cord and nerves. In some cases plates or screws may be inserted to further stabilize the spine.

Recovery differs from person to person but normally takes one to two months. Complete fusion of the spine may take up to 18 months. During this time the patient may have problems with swallowing or hoarseness due to the effects of trachea and esophagus movement during the surgery but this usually corrects itself over time.

Tags:   Anterior cervical discectomy   Neck   Cervical spine   Herniated disc   Bone graft  

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Anterior cervical discectomy is the removal of a spinal disc in the neck through a frontal, or anterior, incision. The neck is made up of seven vertebrae called the cervical spine. When a disc in the cervical spine ruptures it is called a herniated disc and causes neck pain accompanied by numbness...

By: Richard Martine Created 74 months ago

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  • Peter Otto
    May 16, 2012
    5

    My anterior discectomy was performed by a surgeon in whom I had no confidence as to his surgical ability. Prior to the surgery he said that he had performed over a thousand similar procedures and none had gone wrong...Unfortunately mine did and for more than ten years I suffered from his incompetence.

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