Neck pain is a common problem that affects millions of people worldwide. Typically, doctors attempt to reduce symptoms using nonsurgical modalities like heat, ice, medication, and physical therapy. In some cases, however, surgery is the best option for attaining lasting relief from neck pain.
Reasons for Neck Surgery
Neck surgery is typically only performed for three basic reasons:
- To relieve compression on the spinal cord
- To remove a disc or structure that is pressing on a nerve root
- To correct instability in the cervical spine
Common Surgical Procedures for Neck Pain
Patients of Princeton Neurological Surgery can expect to receive care that revolves around their needs, preferences, and expected outcome. Dr. Lipani is a neurological surgeon with extensive training and experience treating spinal conditions. Based on the findings of his thorough evaluation of neck pain, he may recommend one of the following:
- Cervical discectomy and fusion. This procedure may be performed anteriorly, from the front of the neck, or posteriorly, from the back. Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) removes a damaged disc and fuses the spinal segment around it to maintain stability. A posterior procedure may not remove the entire disc so typically does not require fusion. However, a posterior approach may not be the best option depending on the location of the disc injury.
- Cervical corpectomy. Corpectomy is a decompression procedure that may be performed anteriorly or posteriorly depending on which structure Dr. Lipani chooses to remove. Anterior cervical corpectomy removes one or more vertebral bodies and adjacent discs. In their place, an artificial structure or bone graft is situated to create a new, solid segment. Posterior laminectomy removes a portion of the lamina, the back section of a vertebra only. This procedure may or may not also involve spinal fusion.
- Posterior cervical laminoplasty restructures the lamina rather than removing it. Though more conservative, this procedure creates the necessary space in the spinal canal.
- Posterior cervical foraminotomy. The foramen is part of the opening at the center of a vertebra through which the spinal cord travels. Foraminotomy is a procedure that removes a small portion of the bony structure in order to make more space. Sometimes, this procedure also involves partial disc removal or treatment for bone spurs.
Neck pain may be more complicated than it seems. Our role in patient care is to determine the cause of neck pain and clearly explain both cause and treatment options in a way that is easy to understand. To learn more about how to treat chronic neck pain, contact our Hamilton, NJ office at 609-890-3400. We also serve the areas of Somerset and Morristown.