Choose Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion when Non-Surgical Options Fail

by | Jan 6, 2014 | Healthcare

With neck and nerve pain that radiates across the shoulders and down your arms, a pinched nerve due to bone spurs, disc herniation, spondylosis or even a cervical injury could be the cause. When non-surgical methods to alleviate the pain do not work, your doctor may suggest anterior cervical discectomy with fusion. This surgical procedure works to alleviate the pressure of compressed nerve roots or spinal cord issues, which in turn can reduce or even get rid of corresponding pain, numbness, tingling and weakness.

Characterizing Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion

This surgical procedure is approached from the front (anterior) of the neck (cervical). The discs in between each vertebra are spongy and made of cartilage material. Sometimes, degeneration occurs, creating cracks in the disc or injury could cause the disc to bulge out. One or more discs are essentially removed (discectomy) in surgery, depending on the damage and even some bone material such as bone spurs, particularly if it is adding pressure to the spinal cord or compressing nerves.

During anterior cervical discectomy with fusion, a bone graft is placed between two or more vertebra in place of the removed disc. Typically, a piece of bone harvested from your hip is used as an adhesive medium to not only maintain proper space between each vertebra but also to promote new bone growth to stabilize your cervical spine.

Why Surgery Is Sometimes Necessary

The pain you experience due to compression of the nerves or even pressure on the spinal cord can be quite painful and affect your coordination as well as the rest of your body. You could eventually experience problems with your bladder and bowels as well as disruption of fine motor skills. Frequent headaches are common too. In other words, your quality of life slowly deteriorates because medication can no longer eradicate the pain.

Your doctor will likely recommend anterior cervical discectomy with fusion only after other treatment options fail. There is always a risk to this type of surgery but your doctor will consider it while taking other factors into consideration such as your age, overall health, your lifestyle and even your family life. Sometimes, surgery is the only option for you to gain back your life and reduce or even eliminate your pain levels.

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