Cervical microdiscectomy is a procedure used to remove a herniated disc (or portion of a disc) without the need for spinal fusion. Spinal fusion offers excellent results, but it does limit mobility afterward, as the fused segments are now joined as one. Unlike other forms of minimally invasive surgery, this procedure is done from the back of the neck (posterior approach). For more information about microdiscectomy and whether it is right for your pain and other symptoms, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health. Call Call407-303-5452 to set up a consultation.
Why Choose a Cervical Microdiscectomy?
Standard discectomies (open surgery) provide the means to remove damaged or degenerative spinal discs. However, there are serious potential consequences to open surgery, including a higher chance of infection and a longer recovery time. Another option for those considering a microdiscectomy is to undergo a full discectomy and fusion procedure. Fusion is a proven way to enhance stability for the spine (all sections), though there are repercussions to this method as well.
A microdiscectomy allows the removal of a portion of the disc and treatment of the underlying condition without the need to fuse the vertebra together. This in itself offers a shorter recovery time. However, because there is no fusion, there is a chance that disc herniation can reoccur because only a portion of the disc in question is removed. A full consultation and evaluation with Dr. Chetan Patel will be necessary to determine the right course of treatment for your specific case, as well as to discuss your options so you can make an informed decision regarding your surgical treatment.
How Does a Microdiscectomy Work?
First, the surgeon will make a small incision on the back of your neck (midline). Beneath the skin, the surgeon will move the muscles aside to provide access to the vertebra in question. Before disc removal, an x-ray will be made to ascertain that this is the accurate location for the procedure. Part of the facet joint is removed and the nerve root is identified. Using a microscope, the surgeon will then identify the disc beneath the root, move the root to the side and clear the herniated disc. From this point, the surgeon will remove the herniated portion of the disc and then put the root back in place. Finally, the muscles are moved back and the incision is closed.
Is This the Right Procedure for You?
Most patients hear that microdiscectomy procedures do not require spinal fusion and it sounds very intriguing. While avoiding fusion is generally a good thing, the posterior approach to disc herniation removal is not necessarily the right path for you. Because the disc is not completely removed, herniation can occur again. Additionally, the remainder of the disc can collapse and put pressure on the spinal nerves.
For more information about a cervical microdiscectomy or another treatment option for neck or shoulder pain due to a herniated disc in the cervical spine, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health. Call Call407-303-5452 to make an appointment.