I am going to have neck surgery in two weeks. The doctor will remove a disc that is disintegrating. How is this done?
The spine is divided into three distinct units. The neck is called the cervical spine. Removing one or more discs between the bones of the cervical spine is called a discectomy.
The disc can be removed from the front (anterior) or back (posterior) of the neck. The preferred method is to do an anterior cervical discectomy. The doctor makes a cut or incision at the front of the neck and pulls apart the muscles and bones. A special tool is used to remove the disc.
Overgrown or damaged cartilage and bone spurs are also removed. The doctor uses a cutting tool called a curette or a high-speed drill for this. Many doctors fuse the neck after discectomy. Only the sections where the discs are removed get fused. Bone chips or a special cage is used to hold the cervical spine in its natural position. This gives the neck the support and structure it needs to function.
Michael Payer, MD, et al. Implantation of an Empty Carbon Fiber Composite Frame Cage After Single-Level Anterior Cervical Discectomy in the Treatment of Cervical Disc Herniation: Preliminary Results. In Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. March 2003. Vol. 98. No. 3. Pp. 143-148.
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