What is Anterior Cervical Discectomy

Sometimes a damaged spinal disc or a slipped (herniated) disc can cause arm pain, chronic neck pain or upper back pain. The spinal disc is a cushion like structure placed between the vertebrae and acts like a shock absorber. However, a damaged disc causes pressure on the spinal cord and nerves which leads to pain, weakness, numbness and tingling sensation in the neck, upper back, arm, forearm or hand. A surgery performed to remove the damaged and degenerated disc is called discectomy.

Anterior Cervical Discectomy treatment
The process of Anterior Cervical Discectomy followed by Spinal Fusion

When the surgery is done from the front, it is called Anterior Discectomy and when it is done from the back it is called Posterior Discectomy. A discectomy done for the neck area is called Cervical Discectomy. Anterior Cervical Discectomy is the surgery done for removing the damaged disc in the neck area and the surgery is performed from the front. Many a times a discectomy is followed by a Spinal Fusion. In this case, after the damaged disc is removed by Anterior Cervical Discectomy, a bone graft and or an implant is placed at the same spot in order to strengthen and stabilize the affected cervical segment. This treatment is called Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion.

How is Anterior Cervical Discectomy performed

In Anterior Cervical Discectomy the spine surgeon makes an incision in your neck from the front and moves aside the soft tissues and makes a tunnel to reach the affected cervical disc. The vertebrae above and below the damaged disc are spread apart by a retractor. The spine surgeon then removes the damaged degenerated disc or any bone spurs so that the pressure from the spinal cord or nerve roots can be released. The surgery is done with the help of microscopes and X rays. Depending upon the case, the discectomy will be followed at the same moment with a Spinal fusion where the doctor uses a bone graft or metal plates to make a bridge between the two vertebrae and stabilize the spine.

Why to choose Anterior Cervical Discectomy

Anterior Cervical Discectomy is usually recommended in the case where a damaged or herniated disc causes back pain and neck pain by building pressure on the spinal cord or nerve root. The solution for such pain is to remove the damaged disc and if need be then followed with a spinal fusion. The Anterior approach allows direct visualization of the entire cervical spine. This approach is preferred by surgeons as it gives an uncomplicated access to the cervical spine area and also needs smaller incision for access.

Some of the conditions which can be treated by Anterior Cervical Discectomy are:

  • Herniated Disc
  • Bone Spurs removal
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Degenerative disc diseases – wear and tear of disc which results into narrowing of spinal canal or causes friction leading to pain

When should I consider opting for Anterior Cervical Discectomy

At Spine and Sport Clinic we believe that surgery as an option should be the last resort for treating pain caused by spinal disorders. Not more than 10% of the cases citing pain due to back pain or neck pain or spine related pain needs spine surgery. So do not delay in consulting our spine specialist, Dr Bhavin Shial. If Non- surgical treatments like medicine, physiotherapy, posture correction & spinal injections don’t result into relief in a defined period of time then the spine specialist can list the other surgical options like Anterior Cervical Discectomy. This procedure is usually selected when the cause of the pain is damaged or degenerated disc and the solution is to remove that disc.

FAQs for Anterior Cervical Discectomy treatment

What is the cost of an Anterior Cervical Discectomy treatment?

The cost of an Anterior Cervical Discectomy depends upon the severity of the condition, patient’s health, the procedure to be adopted, the equipment, whether followed with Spinal Fusion, the implants, bone graft to be used and the hospital and ward category selected.

Dr Bhavin Shial performs Anterior Cervical Discectomy Fusion for patients at various budget and premium spine treatment clinic in Mumbai and he will guide you on the most economical option for you based on your need.

Who is qualified to perform an Anterior Cervical Discectomy?

Anterior Cervical Discectomy can be performed by Spine surgeons, Orthopaedic surgeons and Neuro surgeons. Dr Bhavin Shial is one of the best Spine specialists in Mumbai and is a certified Minimally Invasive Spine Surgeon. He holds a degree in Master of Surgery in Orthopedics and has done his Spine Fellowship from P.D. Hinduja Hospital. He has also earned esteemed international fellowship in Microsurgery and Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery training in Germany. In his experience spanning over 11 plus years, he has performed more than 3000 + spine surgeries and provides best spine treatment in Mumbai.

What is the success rate of an Anterior Cervical Discectomy ?

Anterior Cervical Discectomy is successful in immediate relieving of arm and neck pain in 90% of the patients. Although the weakness or numbness takes a little longer to go like around 2 to 3 months. If the discectomy is accompanied with Spinal Fusion then it requires a long-term commitment from the patient’s side to follow the post-operative care in order to attain maximum benefit. The success of the surgery totally depends upon factors like patient’s health and age, severity of the condition, post-operative care and follow-ups.

In how many days do you get discharge from hospital after an Anterior Cervical Discectomy

Anterior Cervical Discectomy patients are generally discharged in 2-3 days, however if Spinal Fusion is also done then the hospital and the surgeon take additional care to keep the patient under observation in the hospital for a little longer. In most cases the patient is discharged in 4 to 5 days after the surgery.

What is the post-operative care to be taken for Anterior Cervical Discectomy and for how long a period does one needs to take it?

The post-operative care and period varies for each case. Common post-operative care includes following doctor’s advice on wearing cervical collar, braces, medicines, physiotherapy, avoiding heavy weight lifting, rest, follow-up consultations and keeping a watch on fever and infection. The period of post-operative care ranges from 3 to 6 months.

Is Anterior Cervical Discectomy covered under Mediclaim

In most cases Anterior Cervical Discectomy treatments are covered by your health insurance or Mediclaim company. The extent of coverage would totally depend upon the type of policy and sum insured opted by you. It is advisable to check with your Mediclaim company and get a better clarity.

What are the non-surgical alternatives to Anterior Cervical Discectomy

Almost 90% of the Spine problems can be rectified with non-surgical treatments and do not need surgery. At Spine and Sports Clinic, we do not believe in suggesting unnecessary surgical procedures. Dr Bhavin Shial’s first route of treatment is non-surgical options. Some of the non-surgical alternatives for spine problems that he suggests depending on the health of the patient and severity of the condition are Rest, Posture correction, Physiotherapy, pain medicines and epidural injections. It is advisable to visit Spine and Sports Clinic in Mumbai and consult spine specialist, Dr Bhavin Shial to discuss the non-surgical options suitable for your condition.