What is Cervical Spine Surgery?

The main objective of a cervical spine surgery is to relieve pain, restore proper nerve function and prevent irregular movements of the spine. It is basically performed by removing a portion of a bone or disc and then fusing the spine with a bone graft in the front or back of the vertebrae.

The bone grafts used in cervical spine surgery come in two types, the autograft and allograft. These bone grafts are fused into the spine using metal screws, plates or wires for stability. When the spine is stabilized, irregular and abnormal spine motion is prevented thus restoring normal nerve function.

Cervical spine surgery is performed for different cervical spine problems. In general, surgical procedures can be done for severe trauma, instability and regeneration of the spine.

One type of cervical spine surgery known as revision surgery is a procedure that involves deformity correction, which depends on the patient’s condition. For severe cases, the operation may include surgery on the front and back of the neck.

Below are conditions that may require cervical spine surgery:

• Degenerative disorder – In this condition, the discs or cartilages between the vertebrae wears out which eventually turns into herniation. Pain is most felt but numbness and weakness along the spine is also experienced.

• Cervical deformity – Hyperlordosis is a condition that can be treated by undergoing cervical spine surgery. It is better known as swan neck deformity that is very visible in a patient.

The neck is flexible and very much prone to injuries that can cause fracture or dislocation of a disc in the spine while severe injuries can cause serious damages to the spinal cord. If such injury occurs, cervical spine surgery can be performed to stabilize the spine and to relieve pressure.

Similar with any type of operation, there are also risks involved in cervical spine surgery like damages to the following:

• Spinal cord
• Nerves
• Esophagus
• Carotid artery
• Vocal cords

Slow healing rate, blood clot in the lungs and infection are other potential complications that may require you to undergo more surgery. Rare cases of complications include paralysis or even death. The risks of cervical spine surgery complications are greater than revision surgery. However, relieving pain and restoration of nerve functions is a lot more difficult with revision surgery. Whatever type of spinal surgery that you would have to undergo, you should thoroughly discuss your cervical spine surgery with your doctor to understand the risks involved.