Microscopic Posterior Cervical Discectomy
Microscopic posterior cervical discectomy is a spinal surgery. It is performed for a herniated disc in the cervical spine that is causing the patient neck pain. There might also be pain radiating along the shoulder or arm pain. The surgery can be done in a minimally invasive manner with a tubular retractor. It can also be done with a small, formal open incision.
If the surgery were to be performed in a minimally invasive manner, a small incision in the back is made. A wire is inserted through this incision and guided by fluoroscope to locate the affected disc. A series of dilation tubes are passed over the guide wire. They push apart the tissue and creating an opening to the vertebrae. The guide wire is then removed.
The tubular retractor, though which the surgery will be performed, slides over the dilating tubes. It is positioned on the bone surface and the dilating tubes are removed. A surgical light, small camera or microscope are placed through the tube to allow the surgeon to view the disc. The surgeon uses instruments to clear away bone and soft tissue. This allows easy access to the spinal canal.
A drill may be used to clear away bone. It will expose the pinched nerve root and the herniated disc below it. A small instrument is then passed through the retractor tube and used to check the freedom of the nerve. The surgeon removes the herniated portion of the disc and clears the area. Hence the room is created for the nerve to move back to its normal position.
The goal of surgery is to remove the herniated disc to relieve the neck and arm pain of the patient. The surgery removes bones and/or portions of a herniated or diseased disc. This is turn relieves neck and radiating arm pain caused by parts of the disc pressing on nerve roots.
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There is an advantage to performing a posterior cervical discectomy. It is that the patient is able to avoid an anterior cervical surgery. It avoids necessitation of a fusion along with dysphagia. A significant percentage of patients who undergo anterior cervical surgery tend to suffer from it.
There is also a disadvantage of a posterior cervical surgery. It is that the patients with foraminal stenosis in addition to the herniated disc do not a graft or cage placed into the disc space in order to increase foraminal height, or increase the space for the nerves to additionally relieve pain for the patient.
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