Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

My neighbor recently had surgery on her neck because the bones were getting squished together, causing her a lot of pain. But, the doctor went through the front of her neck, leaving a wicked scar. Why would he do that if he could have reached it from the back, without leaving an obvious scar?

Answer:

Surgery for the vertebrae in the neck, the bones, can be approached in different ways, depending on what needs to be done. Some procedures are best done from an anterior approach, from the front, while others are best from the posterior approach, from the back. The type of surgery the surgeon chooses to do depends on the actual problem, how best to fix it, any other physical problems the patient may have, and the procedure the surgeon is most comfortable with. Mary R.A. Cunningham, MD, Stuart Hershman, MD, and John Bendo, MD. Systematic Review of Cohort Studies Comparing Surgical Treatments for Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy. In Spine. March 1, 2010. Vol. 35, No. 5. Pp. 537-543.

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