Cervical Spine

Cervical Posterior Foraminotomy

A minimally invasive procedure designed to enlarge the space through which the nerve root exits from the spinal cord and at the same time try to remove any piece of disc, which is pushing on the nerve. Sometimes the foraminotomy alone can alleviate symptoms without a discectomy being needed. The whole disc is not removed, just the fragment pressing the nerve root. A fusion is not performed and most patients typically do not require a neck collar after the surgery.

bullet_gold View this animation



Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF)

This procedure removes a diseased disc (discectomy) through the front (anterior) of the neck (cervical). After the disc is removed, the spine must be stabilized. This is accomplished using a cervical plate and screws (instrumentation) and fusion (bone graft). Fusion is similar to glue that hardens over time to create a solid construct, which stabilizes the spine. (See images below.)

bullet_gold View this animation


Anterior Cervical Corpectomy

During this procedure, part of the vertebra and adjacent disc are removed to decompress the cervical spinal cord and nerve roots. Instrumentation and fusion are performed to permanently stabilize the spine.

bullet_gold View this animation



This procedure is used to relieve spinal cord compression in the cervical spine. Its most common use is in severe cases in which the spinal cord is compressed at multiple levels. This procedure involves a partial laminectomy instead of completely removing the lamina (bony roof); the lamina is hinged on one side and rotated away from the spinal cord - a procedure similar to cracking open a door. This procedure allows marked expansion of the spinal canal and relieves compression of the spinal cord. It also is a good alternative to an anterior cervical decompression and fusion. The laminaplasty is performed posteriorly and does not involve fusion of the spine. It allows for decompression of the spinal canal while maintaining good stability.

bullet_gold View this animation


Cervical Total Disc Replacement

This procedure is currently in development. This will involve a similar anterior approach to the neck where a disc is removed as is currently performed. Instead of fusion bone placement, an artificial disc will be placed. There is no approval in the United States at this time, for any cervical artificial disc although we expect approval on some early models quite soon. The cervical disc from Blackstone Medical, Inc., which is co-developed by Dr. Nelson, will be implanted in May 2007 in Brazil.