Anterior Cervical Decompression (or Discectomy), is a procedure that allows the removal of a herniated cervical disc through the front of the neck. Fusion surgery if often done at the same time to stabilize the cervical segment by replacing it with a bone graft which allows the vertebrae to fuse together over a period of time.
- Through a small incision made near the front of the neck, the surgeon:
- Removes the intervertebral disc to access the compressed neural structures
- Relieves the pressure by removing the source of the compression
- Places a bone graft between the adjacent vertebrae
- Implants a small metal plate to stabilize the spine while it heals (in most cases)
Pressure placed on neural structures, such as nerve roots or the spinal cord by a herniated disc or bone spur, may irritate neural structures and cause pain in the neck and/or arms, lack of coordination, numbness or weakness in the arms, forearms or fingers. Patients who suffer from these symptoms are potential candidates for this operation.