Anterior Cervical Corpectomy
What is Anterior Cervical Corpectomy?
A corpectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove the vertebral body and disc spaces in order to relieve pressure on the nerves within the spine caused by stenosis or bone spurs. Patients with these conditions often experience pain in the affected area, as well as numbness, tingling or weakness in the extremities.
As its name suggests, an anterior cervical corpectomy involves approaching the problem area from the anterior, or front, of the body. It focuses on the cervical spine, which refers to the uppermost portion of the spine near the neck.
The Anterior Cervical Corpectomy Procedure
The anterior cervical corpectomy procedure is performed under general anesthesia in a hospital setting. During this surgery, an incision is made in the side of the neck. The muscles and tissues in the area will be gently moved aside to allow for greater access to the spine. In order to correct spinal compression, the discs above and below the affected vertebra are removed, along with the middle portion of the bone.
A bone graft or metal hardware may be inserted to stabilize the spine after the damaged structures have been removed. The incision used for this procedure is closed with strong sutures that will leave a thin scar, although this usually fades with time. The entire procedure takes approximately three to four hours to perform, depending on the severity of the condition.
Recovery from Anterior Cervical Corpectomy
After surgery, patients will stay in the hospital for four to seven days in order to facilitate proper healing. There may be some pain at the incision site, although this can usually be managed through pain medications prescribed by your doctor. Symptom relief is usually noticeable right away, and will continue to improve gradually. Most patients can get up and walk around a few hours after their procedure. Your doctor will advise you as to when you can return to work and physical exercise.
Risks of Anterior Cervical Corpectomy
As with any type of surgical procedure for the spine, anterior cervical corpectomy can be associated with certain risks. These complications may include infection, bleeding, damage to the spinal cord and damage to nerve roots in the area. Your doctor will discuss these risks with you prior to surgery.