What is Cervical Discectomy and Fusion Surgery?
Dr. Siddiqi performs anterior cervical discectomy on patients to surgically remove a herniated disc that is causing nerve pinching. An anterior cervical fusion usually is completed as part of cervical discectomy to open the disc space and prevent collapse of that space (kyphosis).
The cervical spine is the first portion of the spine that begins at the base of the skull. During surgery, Dr. Siddiqi reaches the cervical spine by making a small incision in the front of your neck. Once the incision has been made, he separates the soft tissues of the neck. The trachea and esophagus are moved to the middle, and the carotid artery and jugular vein are moved toward the side. Both are protected with metal retractors.
After this happens, Dr. Siddiqi can remove the intervertebral disc and bone spurs to relieve pressure on the nerve or spinal cord. He will use an operating microscope to aid him in the removal process, as well as special instruments and a drill to remove the bone spurs. The space left between the vertebrae may be reconstructed with a synthetic polyether ether ketone spacer (PEEK) and filled with bone bank bone (allograft) or patient's own bone (autograft).
The bone graft is placed in the disc space to help fuse the vertebrae it lies between.
Once the operation is complete, Dr. Siddiqi will close the neck incision with dissolving sutures. Patients usually can return to their normal activities soon after surgery, but will need to discuss the recovery process in greater detail with Dr. Siddiqi.
Possible risks and complications of anterior cervical discectomy surgery may include nerve root damage, damage to the spinal cord (about 1 in 10,000), bleeding, infection, bone graft dislodgment, damage to the trachea/esophagus and/or continued pain.
Temporary hoarseness and/or difficulty swallowing may also occur as a result of the retraction of the trachea and esophagus. Because most of the disc is removed during this procedure, the chance for a recurrent disc herniation is slim.