An anterior surgical approach means an approach from the front part of the body. The cervical spine is the spine in the neck, and discectomy is a procedure that removes a damaged, herniated intervertebral disc. So, anterior cervical discectomy is a procedure that removes a damaged intervertebral disc from the spine in the neck, using a surgical approach from the front of the neck.
An anterior cervical discectomy is often performed along with treatments called fusion and fixation to ensure the spine’s stability. Fusion is the implantation of a bone graft that will fuse with vertebrae in the area. Fixation is the implantation of screws, rods, or plates. A fixation is a common way to hold the bones in place while they fuse.
How is Anterior Cervical Discectomy performed?
- The procedure is performed under general anesthesia.
- The surgeon first makes an incision (surgical cut) on the front of the neck, and then soft tissues move aside to expose the anterior spine. The surgeon removes the damaged discs and any bone spurs to remove the force from the spinal cord or nerve roots. This part of the surgical process is often performed with an operating microscope, using microsurgical neurosurgical techniques.
- In the next step of the procedure, the surgeon may perform either a spinal fusion and fixation to ensure the spinal column is well-aligned, or an arthroplasty in which an artificial cervical disc replaces the disc.
- To perform the spinal fusion, the surgeon replaces the disc with a disc spacer or bone graft taken from the patient’s body.
- Then the surgeon implants a titanium plate and screws to fix the bones. The implantation of titanium hardware provides spinal stability as the bone graft fuses with the adjacent bones.
- Once the bones have fused, the spine is stable. If arthroplasty is performed, the surgeon will select the appropriate size of the artificial disc and implant it into the disc space.
- Both fusion and arthroplasty are performed under the direct vision of the surgeon and with the guidance of X-rays/C-Arm to ensure precise placement.
- The surgical cut is closed with sutures underneath the skin and dressed with a small gauze bandage.
Is it safe to choose Anterior Cervical Discectomy?
Anterior Cervical Discectomy can be preferable due to many reasons, including:
- Surgeons have been performing Anterior Cervical Discectomy procedures for decades. Its safety and effectiveness profile are both known qualities.
- With an advancement in medical science and technology with the introduction of intraoperative neuromonitoring system surgeries are becoming more safe.
When to opt for Anterior Cervical Discectomy Surgery?
Anterior cervical discectomy is performed for patients who have experienced changes such as degeneration and bone spurs in the discs of the cervical spine, and for those with herniated discs. These conditions can affect the amount of space available for the spinal cord and nerves. As a result, the spinal cord and nerves can become compressed and even injured.
The doctor may recommend non-surgical treatments such as pain medications and physical therapy.
Surgery is typically recommended in those conditions when the spinal cord is at risk of damage. Surgery may also be warranted for those patients who do not find relief with non-surgical treatment.
An anterior cervical discectomy, like any surgical procedure, is associated with a certain amount of risk. However, this risk is usually small.
What are the Precautions to be taken after surgery?
- If you had a fusion, do not take unnecessary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for about six months after the surgery. As they can cause bleeding and interrupt with bone healing.
- Do not smoke as smoking delays healing by increasing the risk of complications.
- Do not drive for two to four weeks after surgery or until allowed by your surgeon.
- Avoid sitting for long periods.
- Avoid bending your head forward or backward.
- Do not lift anything more substantial than 5 Kgs.
Get Best Anterior Cervical Discectomy in Udaipur:
One of the leading spine hospitals in Udaipur, Shriram Spinal Hospital, provides the best Anterior Cervical Discectomy treatment in Udaipur with the latest techniques and equipment.
It has a team of dedicated, trained, and acclaimed spine surgeons providing cutting edge medical and surgical technology.
Shriram Spine Hospital also provides surgical treatment for Spinal Fracture, Lumbar Micro-Endoscopic Discectomy, MIS TLIF, Balloon Kyphoplasty and Vertebroplasty, Cervical Disc Replacement, Anterior Cervical Discectomy, Spinal Tumor Excision.
Frequently Asked Questions
When can I resume exercise?
Patients are usually asked to increase their activities as they can tolerate, but should refrain from high-impact exercise until allowed by the surgeon. It could be several weeks to a few months before activities can be resumed.
Will I need rehabilitation or physical therapy?
Physical therapy that focuses on the neck can be started at either 6 to 12 weeks following the surgery, once the bone graft and wound are sufficiently healed.
Will I have any long-term limitations due to an anterior cervical discectomy surgery?
No, there are no long-term limitations due to this procedure.
Will I need to wear a collar?
The fixation provides generally immediate stability, so a collar may or may not be required.