The Most Common Types Of Neck Surgery Explained

Nov 08, 2022

Often the neck is injured either due to accidents or some kind of physical activity, such as playing sports. It can also be due to wear and tear of the vertebrae due to aging. Injuries to the cervical vertebrae lead to many challenges in everyday life, and it's important to treat them quickly to avoid sustaining further damage. In this article, we will explore the most common types of neck surgery, look at when they are required, and explain their procedures briefly.

Different Reasons for Undergoing a Neck Surgery

There are many reasons why someone might need neck surgery. The most common reasons include;

  • Degenerative diseases of the spine such as Osteoarthritis
  • Trauma from an accident or injury
  • Tumors 
  • Congenital defects

No matter the reason, neck surgery is a serious procedure that should only be undertaken after careful consideration and consultation with a qualified neurosurgeon. If you are experiencing neck pain or other symptoms that may warrant surgery, be sure to get a comprehensive evaluation to ensure that all nonsurgical treatment options have been exhausted first. 

You might also want to read: How spinal cord injuries are diagnosed and treated?

Types of Neck Surgery

Types of Neck Surgery

Choosing among different types of neck surgery entails considering the type of injury one has sustained as well as the location of the injury. The type of neck surgery can only be finalized after the full-fledged diagnosis has been conducted. Here are a few most used types of neck surgery;

1. Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (CDF)

In this surgery, the damaged part of the disc is removed from the cervical spine which relieves pressure from the spinal cord or nerve root resulting in pain alleviation. It is followed by surgical fusion of vertebrae above and below the disc together. Fusion is performed to provide stability and strength to the spine as after the removal of a disc, the spine fails to maintain its shape which can lead to further implications. This surgery is performed through an incision in the front of the neck and thus the name anterior.

Under ACDF, different surgical options are used to treat patients. A good doctor explains all the options to the patients along with their potential risks and complications. For example; how many vertebrae levels will be treated, types of implants to be used for fusion, etc. 

2. Multilevel Cervical Laminectomy and Fusion

Cervical laminectomy is a procedure performed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots. This pressure is most often caused by herniated disks, thickened ligaments, or bone spurs. The surgeon begins the procedure by making an incision in the back of the neck. Once the incision is made, the surgeon will carefully remove a portion of the vertebral lamina (the back part of the vertebra that covers the spinal canal). This relieves pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots. After the lamina has been removed, the surgeon will place a fusion cage (graft cage) between the vertebrae. It will be filled with bone graft material allowing vertebrae to fuse over time. In some cases, metal rods and screws may also be used to help stabilize the spine during healing. The goal of cervical laminectomy is to relieve pressure on the spinal nerve roots and to stabilize the spine. 

This procedure is usually performed as an outpatient procedure, which means that you will be able to go home on the same day as your surgery. However, some patients might be asked to stay for a couple of days depending on their medical conditions and the care they require. Recovery times vary depending on each patient, but you can expect to feel some soreness and stiffness in your neck for several days after your surgery.

3. Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery

Cervical disc replacement surgery is a type of neck surgery that is used to treat damaged or herniated discs in the neck. The cervical spine is made up of vertebrae that are separated by discs. These discs act as shock absorbers and allow the spine to move freely. Over time, these discs can become damaged or herniated, causing pain and inflammation. Cervical disc replacement surgery involves removing the damaged disc and replacing it with an artificial disc.

Minimally Invasive Neck Surgery

Equipment for minimally invasive neck surgery

Surgeons have been performing spine surgeries conventionally for a long time which involved making large incisions in the body. Now, with technological advancement, it has become possible to perform minimally invasive spine surgeries using video cameras and other endoscopic instruments. Neck surgery can also be performed using minimally invasive techniques. This approach has several benefits including a short recovery period, less loss of blood, and less pain during the operation.

Neck Surgery in Los Angeles

If you have been experiencing consistent pain in your neck for a long time and feel that you might need surgical treatment, you can talk to the neurosurgeon at our facility. Here at Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery, Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe provides top-quality treatment to patients suffering from spine disorders. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at 213-369-4583 or filling out the contact form.