What is a cervical discectomy?

A cervical discectomy is when a portion of the intervertebral body that is pressing against the nerve is removed. The goal of this procedure is to release the spinal cord and/or nerves. If the decision is made to perform an additional fusion, the goal is to achieve a bony fusion of the vertebrae.

The procedure is performed through the anterior side of the neck. The physician makes a horizontal incision (3 to 4 cm) in order to access the vertebral column. The surgeon then searches for the intervertebral body and removes it. The spinal cord and the issuing nerves are then released. The intervertebral space is filled with an artificial block (cage) that, in turn, will fill with bone grafts (blocks of bone). The grafts come from the iliac crest or from the bone bank. The vertebrae then grow together (fusion). The vertebrae are usually also fixated with an additional plate and screws. In some circumstances, the surgeon may opt to try to preserve mobility in the vertebral column and may decide to implant a prosthesis.

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Latest publication date: 05/02/2021
Supervising author: Dr Vandekerckhove Tom