Anterior Cervical Corpectomy
One of the most common neck conditions that occurs with age is cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM). Over time, the normal wear-and-tear effects of aging can lead to a narrowing of the spinal canal. This compresses — or squeezes — the spinal cord. CSM can cause a variety of symptoms, including pain, numbness, and weakness.
There are many successful surgical techniques for treating CSM. The goal of surgery is to open the space for the spinal cord, or “decompress” the spinal canal. The decompression is performed either from the front of your neck (anterior) or the back (posterior).
Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages (see table below) and these should be discussed with your surgeon. Neither surgical approach is ideal for every patient.
This procedure is similar to diskectomy, except that the vertebra is removed and replaced by bone graft material.
In some cases, both disk and bone may be pressing on the spinal cord. A combination of diskectomy and corpectomy may be performed.
Removing a disk or vertebra requires stabilizing the spine through fusion. Spinal fusion is essentially a “welding” process. The basic idea is to fuse together spinal bones (vertebrae) so that they heal into a single, solid bone.
Fusion will take away some spinal flexibility. The degree of limitation depends upon how many spine segments or “levels” are involved.
In addition to fusion, metal plates and screws are commonly used to help keep the bones in place.