Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

My doctor has advised me to have a cervical discectomy. What are the benefits of this operation?

Answer:

Aging or injury can cause damage to the discs between the bones of the spine. If the disc presses out of its space, it’s called herniation. The protruding disc can put pressure on the spinal nerves, causing many problems. Taking the disc out (discectomy)can relieve painful symptoms and restore strength and function. Some studies even show improved mental capacity after this operation. Most likely, this occurs as a result of decreased pain. Changes in sensation and motor function can occur with a disc herniation. The arms and hands may become numb or weak. Swallowing can be difficult. Loss of bladder function is even possible when the disc in the neck area protrudes and presses against the spinal cord. Removing the disc doesn’t always return the patient to normal function. There may be part or complete recovery. Discectomy will keep the patient from getting worse. 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.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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