A cervical discectomy is a surgical procedure performed on the cervical (neck) region of the spine to help relieve pressure on nerves, and perhaps even the spinal cord itself. Over time, wear and tear, arthritis or an injury can damage the structures of the cervical spine resulting in pressure and irritation to nerves and nerve roots. This pressure can cause severe pain, discomfort and numbness to the neck and the arms.
During the operation, a small incision is made, usually in the front of the neck, and the surgeon removes the bony material or disc that is causing the problem. In most cases, the surgeon then fuses or joins together the affected vertebrae using bone graft or a metal plate and screws.
Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive surgical procedure for people suffering with compression fractures of the spine. The procedure involves the insertion of a balloon into the collapsed vertebra followed by injection of a special material. The material hardens and stabilizes the vertebra, preventing further movement, and may reduce the pain caused by bone rubbing against bone. Patients can resume their activities almost immediately. Previously, the only treatment available to most people with this problem was weeks of bed rest and pain medications.
The lamina is a part of each vertebra. A laminectomy is the surgical removal of the lamina or part of the lamina on one or more of the vertebrae. This is usually done to relieve pressure on nerves that may become inflamed from pressure caused by a narrowed spinal canal, bone spurs, or a herniated disc. Once the lamina is removed, the surgeon can then access the spinal canal and remove the source of irritation or pressure.
The lumbar area of the spine is better known as the lower back. During the operation, a four to five inch incision is made in your lower back and the muscles supporting the spine are divided. A small window is made in the sheet of bone (lamina) covering the spinal cord. Next, the surgeon removes any ruptured disc material or bone spurs that are pinching the nerves or spinal cord.
The site may then be prepared for fusion. A lumbar fusion is an operation to stabilize the lower back by creating bony bridges between at least two vertebrae and eliminating motion between them. It can be done by fusing the vertebral bodies in front (anterior) or by fusing the facet joints and lamina in the back (posterior). Bone or bone substitutes can be placed on and between the lamina and the facet joints. Metal screws and rods or plates may be attached to the bones to secure the fixation while the bony bridge heals. The operation typically takes two to three hours; however it may be longer, depending on the complexity of the problem and the number of vertebrae needing to be fused.
For more information or to find out if you’re a candidate for one of these procedures, call Baptist Health Orthopedic & Spine Center at (479) 441-5095.
- Baptist Health-Fort Smith
- Baptist Health-Van Buren