When symptoms advance or are not resolved with conservative therapies, surgery may be required. Surgery is primarily performed to remove the damaged discs or disc materials (discectomy) that are pinching the nerves.
Your physician will consider many different factors when deciding the best surgical approach to use. Factors such as your prior surgeries and medical procedures, age, symptom severity, geographic location, additional medical problems, expected outcome, and and the preferences of the attending surgeon will all be considered.
The most common approach in cervical disc herniation surgery is the anterior approach (from the front of your neck). In some instances, however, a posterior approach (from the back of your neck) may be performed if you require other interventions such as decompression. In each procedure, damaged discs are removed (discectomy) from the nerve. Surgeons usually will then place bone grafts in-between vertebrae to join (fuse) gaps made post discectomy. Both methods typically result in successful surgical outcomes.
What to Expect After the Operation
There will be some pain in and around your surgical area immediately following your surgery. Prescription pain medication can be used to control and relieve your pain during recovery. Your doctor also will encourage you to perform early ambulation as the effects of the anesthesia wear off. Increasing mobility, particularly getting up often to walk around, will help lower your risk of developing post-operative complications.
Although you may be healthy enough to go home the day of your surgery, a short hospital stay may be required if you have any serious pre-existing medical conditions.
After your procedure, your attending physician will refer you to a physiotherapist who will monitor your specific needs and help you safely regain strength and movement through supervised exercise and physical activities.
Generally, most patients notice significant improvements in pain and symptom severity and are satisfied with their results. However, as with any surgery, some complications and drawbacks may arise at a later time. Discectomy-related complications including hemorrhage, soft-tissue infection, nerve