Surgery For Herniated Disc In Neck

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Looking At Surgery For Herniated Disc In Neck

Surgery for herniated disc in neck is one of the most effective ways to cure neck pain although it is not necessarily the most recommended. Neck surgery becomes an option only when other methods to treat neck pain have failed. The reason for this is simple; neck surgery is invasive. While high levels of success rate are guaranteed, it also takes a significant toll on the body not to mention pose potential complications post-surgery. As a result, surgery for herniated disc in neck must only be recommended after exhausting all other methods.

Should a patient find himself in a situation where surgery is the only possible treatment, there are three different types of surgery for herniated disc in neck.

· Anterior cervical discectomy and spine fusion involves removing the herniated disc from the front and fusing the remaining vertebra to seal the space where the old disc used to be located. This is the most common and preferred option because of its inherent simplicity.
· Anterior cervical discectomy without spine fusion involves removal of the disc but fusion of the remaining vertebra is not done. This method relies on the normal healing processes of the body to naturally fuse the remaining vertebra in the area although in many cases, it produces deformed bones and takes a significantly longer period to heal by itself.
· Posterior cervical discectomy is simply a modification of the direction of attack for the procedure. Instead of approaching it from the front, the incision is made from the back. This procedure is only done if the anterior approach is not applicable. The back area typically results in more bleeding because of the greater concentration of veins. It also requires some degree of spinal cord movement to ensure that no harm or damage is done during the procedure.

To fully understand the necessity to exhaust other treatment methods - most notably physical therapy – to address neck problems, it is important to examine the potential complications for surgery for herniated disc in neck. The following facts are taken from various compilations by medical institutions that recommend surgery for herniated disc in neck only as a last resort:

1 in 1,000 cases experience damage in one of the major blood vessels in the esophagus area
About 1% of cases experience nerve problems in the voice box resulting to hoarseness
Less than 1% require a re-operation to re-fuse the vertebra together
1 in 10,000 cases encounter a nerve or, worse, a spinal cord damage
1% of cases experience leaking of the spinal fluid

Even as more sophisticated methods have raised the success rates of surgery in herniated disc in neck to 95%, these complications continue to stand as chilling reminders that anything can happen on the operating table. As such, neck pain should be treated through other means whenever possible. Pain medications, therapy, and rest can be relied upon to help a patient fully recover from neck pain. While it may take longer, it has been proven to work in many cases and should be the primary option when considering treatment options for neck pain.