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Cervical Decompressive Surgery

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Evolution of Cervical Decompressive Surgery

The surgical treatment for cervical myelopathy centers around decompressing the pressure placed on the spinal cord. This involves removing the pieces of bone or soft tissue, such as a herniated disc, that may be taking up space in the spinal canal. This creates more space for the spinal cord leading to less compression and better nerve signal conduction. The commonly performed procedures to treat cervical myelopathy are an Anterior Cervical Diskectomy and Fusion (ACDF), laminectomy, laminoplasty, and cervical disc replacement.

Determining what surgery to perform depends on a number of considerations including patient factors, type of pathology, and the location of the problem. Depending on the procedure, surgery is performed either from the front of the neck (anterior), the back (posterior), or both. For many years, ACDF has long been the gold standard in cervical spine surgery as it is safe, effective, simple to perform and easy to recover. This procedure involves disc removal to relieve spinal cord compression followed by spinal fusion, or merging of adjacent vertebrae, to help stabilize the spine.

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