Cervical spinal surgery is used to correct the part of the spine in the neck, including problems with the bones (vertebrae), disks, and nerves.
Cervical spinal surgery
The cervical spine is part of the spine that runs through the neck area. It consists of seven vertebrae and eight pairs of spinal nerves (called C1 to C8). The two most common problems people have with the cervical spine are herniation and stenosis.
For detailed information on those conditions see:
Herniated intervertebral disk Spinal stenosis
The specific cervical spine surgery depends on what is causing the problem. The surgery is done while you are under general anesthesia (unconscious and pain-free).
If there is a single herniated disk, then the disk may simply be removed through a surgical cut that is made in either the front or the back of the body.
If more than one disk needs to be removed, the spine usually needs to be fused to keep it from becoming unstable. See:
Spinal stenosis is a more difficult problem to treat and generally requires more extensive surgery. Pressure needs to be taken off the spinal nerves and cord. This can be done through a surgical cut in the front or the back of the body. If removing the bone causes the spine to become unstable, spinal fusion may be needed.
Cervical spine surgery is generally used when rest, medication, and physical therapy do not work, and the pain and weakness gets worse. Surgery may also be used if there is evidence that the spinal cord itself is being compressed.
Review Date: 09/21/2006
Reviewed By: Jeffrey Kauffman, MD, Sacramento Knee and Sports Medicine, Sacramento, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.