Frequently Asked Questions about Cervical Disc Herniation

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What type of surgical approach is performed?

In the majority of cases of cervical disc herniation, the approach is by the anterior-lateral route, from the middle region of the neck towards one side, which may be the right or the left depending on the surgeon. The incisions are around 3-4 cm, and an intradermal suture is performed for aesthetic reasons. Another option is the posterior approach, but it is not performed as frequently.

How long does one have to be admitted for this type of surgery?

The standard admission time is 48 hours, as long as there are no complications.

When can I start walking?

At 12 hours one can start walking, as well as perform personal hygiene routines.

Do I have to use a cervical collar?

The use of a cervical collar is necessary. We recommend its use at least for the first four weeks in order to improve the post-operative pain and to help in the recovery of the neck.

Will I have a lot of pain after the surgery?

In cervical surgery by the anterior route, the pain is quite controllable with common analgesics. Post-operative periods are not usually very painful.

Will I lose neck mobility if they perform a vertebral fusion (arthrodesis) on me?

Mobility is not normally lost at neck level, even if two levels of arthrodesis are performed. If the surgery improves the pre-operative pains, the mobility of the neck will also improve.

What is adjacent segment syndrome?

Adjacent segment syndrome can be defined as the appearance of degenerative changes near to a vertebral level treated surgically (generally by using vertebral fusion). That is to say, after the joining of two or more vertebrae, changes can be produced in the natural mechanics of the spine that could lead to the appearance of diseases in the adjacent vertebrae.

What must be done to prevent adjacent segment syndrome?

The advanced techniques are leading to increasingly greater precision and safety in the interventions. New, less invasive surgical techniques that cause less damage in the tissues have been developed, as well as dynamic implants that try to simulate a more natural movement of the spine.

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Substantiated information by:

José Poblete Carrizo
Salvador Fuster

Published: 25 October 2019
Updated: 25 October 2019

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