An Anterior/Posterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion is done for disc herniation, nerve root compression, stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and correction of spinal deformities such as kyphosis. By correcting the alignment of the spine, neck pain can be decreased. Patients present with neck pain that radiates down their arms or in-between their shoulder blades. When conservative treatments fail or the patient has weakness surgery is suggested.
Surgery takes about 1-2 hours depending on how many levels are involved. A small incision is made on the left side of the neck. All the soft tissues are placed to the side and the vertebra and discs can be seen. The discs are removed and if needed bone spurs (osteophytes) removed also. In the place of the discs a spacer is placed. The spacer is about the same size as the other healthy discs. A plate and screws are placed over top of it. The incision will be closed with sutures under the skin to help minimize scaring.
You can go home later that day or the next morning. You must wear the collar at all times except for showering. This will be for 6-8 weeks. The only restriction is no lifting, pushing, or pulling more than 10 lbs. Some patients have a sore throat. This resolves as the swelling goes down. Patients report that their arm pain is improved right after surgery.
Follow up is 2 weeks after surgery for a wound check and then 4-6 weeks afterwards to do x-rays and hopefully remove the collar. Depending on the patient’s job they can return to work 2-8 weeks after surgery