WHEN IS NECK SURGERY NECESSARY?
Surgery can be a solution for curing the spinal column in case of the failure of medication, or therapies like chiropractic and so on.
So, surgery of the cervical vertebra column is only recommended when all other treatments have failed. Most doctors prefer to prescribe medication, rest, physiotherapy or rehabilitation in case of neck pain. The cause is possible risks and/or side effects of the surgery. Neck surgery doesn’t guarantee a cure. However, when all other options are excluded, surgery may provide a solution.
Cervical vertebra surgery is usually practised for the following reasons:
- To release the pain caused by a trapped nerve. This condition is also known as cervical radiculopathy. One of the main reasons is a nerve root being pinched due to a bone spur or a herniated disc. More than 90% of the patients who underwent this surgery were relieved considerably of their pain.
- Another reason for this type of surgery is to remove pressure being placed on the spinal cord by bone spurs; this is called spinal stenosis. This is a more complex surgery process. The success rate for this type of surgery is between 50% and 90%. It will depend on the specific details of the individual’s situation.
- To avoid friction between the vertebrae because of degeneration. This friction causes neck pain and nerve impingement.
TYPES OF CERVICAL SPINE SURGERY:
- Anterior cervical discectomy is one of the more commonly performed surgeries for this section of the spine. The surgeon will expose the spine using an incision, which is made on the front side of the neck next to the windpipe. Once the incision is made, the herniated disc or bone spur will be removed.
- Cervical spinal fusion is a surgical procedure that links together damaged segments of the vertebral column in the neck. This surgery is usually required when the cervical vertebrae — and the discs between each vertebra — have become damaged because of an injury or chronic wear-and-tear.
During surgery, the discs between one or more vertebrae are removed, and bone growth is stimulated to link together adjacent vertebrae. Often, a metal device is used to stabilize the fusion until the bone growth is solid.
- Laminoplasty is performed to relieve suffering for those who endure spinal stenosis. This is performed to create more room for the spinal cord. After the spine is exposed using an incision on the back of the neck, the vertebral laminae are reconstructed to enlarge sections of the spinal canal.
- Laminectomy is performed to relieve addition pressure that has been placed on nerve roots and the spinal cord. Laminae are plates of bone on the vertebrae.
CERVICAL SURGERY: RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS
Because cervical neck surgery will be performed via the throat and close to the bone marrow (spinal cord), there is a small risk of serious complications.
The most common complication of cervical fusion surgery is when it fails to relieve the persistent neck pain. However, studies have found success rates between 80 to 90% with cervical fusion surgical treatment for radiculopathy (nerve pain).
- Complications of cervical fusion can include nerve injury, difficulty swallowing, infection, and bleeding. Many patients are concerned about injury to the spinal cord. However, this is probably the least common. The risk of spinal cord injury is a small fraction of a percent.
- Infection of the bone transplantation before it grows completely together.
- Movement of the bone transplantation before it grows together.
- Lack of adequate bone growth between the adjacent vertebrae. This is called an incomplete fusion.
Some of these complications can be treated with antibiotics, but others may require additional surgery.
Cervical (fusion) surgery is uncommon but is advised in case of severe neck pain. Be sure that you are well informed before undergoing surgery!