Neck surgery is only usually recommended to treat neck pain if all other treatments have failed. Majority of doctors recommend treating neck pain through conventional and non-invasive procedures, including physical therapy, rest, and medications.
When successful, neck surgery could offer significant or permanent pain relief.
When to Consider Having Neck Surgery
Neck surgery is typically for the following reasons:
- For relieving neck pain due to a pinched nerve root because of material from a herniated or ruptured disk, or bone spurs. This condition is known as cervical radiculopathy
- For eliminating pressure on the spinal cord due to bone spurs, which is a condition called spinal stenosis
- For keeping the vertebrae from grinding against each other due to degenerative disk disease
If you’ve tried all the other conventional treatments and still don’t find relief, your doctor might recommend one of the following surgical procedures. Many orthopedic surgeons in Provo such as Michael J. Carlson, MD can help you with this.
- Laminectomy – This surgical procedure is for easing pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. Removing the laminae (bony plates located on the vertebrae’s back portion) could help decrease pressure on the nerves and spinal cord.
- Anterior Cervical Discectomy – This is for alleviating neck pain due to a herniated disk causes pinched nerves.
- Laminoplasty – This surgical procedure is for people suffering from spinal stenosis by creating more space in the spinal canal for the spinal cord.
- Cervical Spinal Fusion – This neck surgery involves joining two vertebrae grinding together due to a disk between them that has worn away or herniated. A metal implant or bone graft joins the vertebrae that would grow together eventually.
Other Crucial Things to Know
The above procedures require hospitalization of at least one week, wearing a neck brace, and other supportive devices to keep your neck still while it heals. You will generally achieve total recovery in five to six weeks.
You would likewise need physical therapy and avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities for a couple of months following your surgery.
Although neck surgery is quite rare, if your doctor advises that it’s best for treating your neck pain, you need to educate yourself and find an experienced orthopedic surgeon to obtain the best possible result.