Cervical Spine Surgery

Your spine includes your cervical vertebrae, located immediately beneath the skull, and though the smallest of the vertebrae can be readily distinguished from the lumbar or thoracic regions by the presence of a hole in each transverse process where the vertebral artery passes through. Your spinal cord is protected by a spinal column and is made up of 24 vertebrae plus the tailbone and the sacrum. Each vertebra is separated by shock absorbing disc that give your spine flexibility to bend and move.

Cervical spine surgery is performed to relieve pain, tingling, numbness and weakness in the spine. The goal of the procedure is to restore nerve function and prevent abnormal motion in the spine. This is done by removing a bone or disc and fusing the vertebrae together with a bone graft either behind or in front of the spine. The bone graft used must either be an allograft, which is a bone from a bone bank, or an autograph, which is a bone taken from your body. In some cases, metal plates, wires are screws are used to offer the spine further stabilization. After the vertebra is properly stabilized, abnormal motion is stopped and function is restored to the spinal nerves.

Cervical spine surgery generally may be performed in situations where there has been trauma or instability and if there are any degenerative disorders as these conditions may produce pressure on the nerves coming from the spine or the spinal cord.

Cervical deformity is a condition that can be treated with cervical spine surgery. Patients with deformities such as swan neck or hyperlordosis may benefit from spine surgery so they may experience a strengthening and stabilizing of the spine.

Another condition that can be treated with cervical spine surgery is degenerative disease. With degenerative disease the disc between the vertebrae shrink, causing wear on the disc which can sometimes lead to a hernia. Degeneration disease can cause pain, tingling, weakness and numbness from the pressure on the spinal nerves.

Injury is also a reason to consider cervical spine surgery. The neck is extremely vulnerable during injury. In a severe injury the spinal cord may also be damaged while less severe injuries include a fracture or dislocation of the cervical vertebrae. Patients with fractures generally undergo surgery to stabilize the spine and relieve pressure.

As with every surgery there are risks or complications. Possible complications as a result of cervical spine surgery include, but are not limited to, bone graft site pain, injury to your nerves, esophagus, spinal cord, vocal cords and carotid artery, also infection and non-healing of the bony fusion. There is also the rare instance of instrumentation failure or breakage. More rare complications include phlebitis in the legs, urinary problems, blood clots in the lungs and paralysis. Any of these complications may need to more surgery.

Keep in mind that cervical spine surgery is a last resort and should only be consider when all other alternatives have been exhausted. If you have any questions or would like any more information regarding alternatives and cervical spine surgery please feel free to visit losethebackpain.com.

Filed Under: Cervical
Written By:  Updated:
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Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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