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Cervical Micro Discectomy

Cervical Microdiscectomy is employed to alleviate neck and arm pain caused by herniated cervical disc(s) in the neck, after conservative treatment has failed. In some cases, the surgeon may use the posterior approach for large soft disc herniations that are lateral to the spinal cord. Be sure to speak with your surgeon for details about how your specific procedure will be done.

The outpatient procedure, usually performed under IV and local anesthesia and sometimes under general anesthesia, is recommended when extensive bone spurs are present. Bone spurs are a term used to refer to extra bone that grows on regular bone. While it may not be harmful initially, the placement of the bone spur and how far it grows can cause wear and tear on surrounding bones and tissues. Through a small skin puncture on the neck, the surgeon inserts a guide into the disc using x-ray guidance. A working sleeve, suction probe, endoscope and other micro surgical instruments then follow to allow the surgeon to remove only the bone spurs and the herniated portion (about 10 to 15%) of the disc.

As this is a microdiscectomy, patients may enjoy a shorter recovery time after the surgery is finished. Standard discectomies run the risk of infection, longer recovery time, and the need to undergo spinal fusion. After a microdiscectomy is complete, your spinal doctor will put the root of your nerve back in place, as well as moving back the muscles, before closing the incision. This also lowers the risk of interfering with muscle and nerve groups that could be disrupted from traditional discectomy and surgical methods, even though they may not have anything to do with the original pain.

This surgery is sometimes preferred as it does not require spinal fusion to be done after the procedure. Patients may not want the spinal fusion as it does limit mobility afterward, as a result of two separate parts of the spine being fused into one. The disadvantage of not having a spinal fusion is that there is a chance for a herniated cervical disc to show up again. If you are not sure about what may be the best procedure for you, consult with us at the Spine Institute in the New Jersey area so that you can best know what your options with your neck and arm pain are.

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