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Anterior Cervical Endoscopic Discectomy

This minimally invasive laser spine surgery treats herniated, extruded, degenerative, or protruded discs in the anterior cervical area of the spine, or the front of the neck.

It is usually is performed under local anesthesia (sometimes under general) and makes use of specially designed micro-instruments, a discectome (a hollow probe containing a knife for cutting) and a laser probe that are inserted into the disc space through a small incision and under x-ray guidance. The micro-instruments allow the surgeon a much more precise view of what is causing the issues with the herniated or degenerative disc. Although there is the small cut being made, most of the muscle and tissue around the disc is being dilated instead of being cut. This means that the patient will most likely be able to leave the hospital the same day they came in, and the surgery usually takes less than 30 minutes to perform. During the procedure, small pieces of the disc are removed with the discectome. The laser is used to further shrink the disc, leaving the supporting structure of the disc intact.

Patients may want to choose the anterior cervical endoscopic disectomy because there is normally no postoperative pain and the incision is covered with a small band-aid. Unlike other more traditional surgical methods that work to treat herniated discs, this surgical method is not known to interfere with day to day life and has a clearly faster recovery time. The majority of patients that undergo this surgery also do not have to face follow up problems in the long term, and – save for any doctor mandated hospital follow-ups – do not have to return to the hospital in order to address damages or issues that may have occurred as a result of the anterior cervical endoscopic disectomy. This method also means that fusion procedures – which can cause damage to the surrounding tissue and can reduce the spine’s flexibility – are not required. The minimally invasive nature of the surgery allows Doctor Cohen and other spinal surgeons to not interfere or damage muscle groups that are not associated with the herniated disc.

The anterior cervical endoscopic disectomy procedure is gaining more and more support within the medical field as time goes on. Within five to ten years in the future, this may very well become the norm.

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