This surgery relieves pressure on the spinal cord and the spinal nerves. It involves the removal of bone and discs from your cervical spine, followed by a fusion.
In preparation for the procedure, you lie on your back. You are anesthetized. The surgeon creates an incision on the front of your neck. The structures within your neck are carefully moved aside to create a path to your spine. The surgeon removes the spinal discs above and below the damaged vertebra. The main portion of this bone, called the "vertebral body", is removed. For some patients, more vertebral bodies and spinal discs may need to be taken out. If bone spurs or other structures are pressing against your spinal cord or spinal nerves, your surgeon will correct these problems, too. After the pressure on your nerves has been relieved, the surgeon stabilizes your spine. Often, this is done with a bone graft. The surgeon places the graft into the open space in your spine. It may be secured with a metal plate and screws. When the procedure is complete, the incision is closed. You may be placed in a neck brace. In the weeks after the surgery, new bone will grow and attach securely to the graft or implant. This will create a permanent fusion. You may benefit from physical therapy as you heal.