Cervical spondylosis is a general term for age-related wear and tear affecting the spinal disks in your neck. As the disks dehydrate and shrink, signs of osteoarthritis develop, including bony projections along the edges of bones (bone spurs). Cervical spondylosis is common and worsens with age. More than 85 percent of people older than 60 are affected by cervical spondylosis. Most people experience no symptoms from these problems. When symptoms do occur, nonsurgical treatments often are effective. Your surgeon will talk with you about the best option for you.
Some surgical options include:
Diskectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the damaged portion of a herniated disk in your spine. A herniated disk can irritate or compress nearby nerves. Diskectomy is most effective for treating pain that radiates down your arms or legs. It is performed to relieve the pressure a herniated disk — also called a slipped, ruptured or bulging disk, or disk prolapse — places on a spinal nerve.
Laminectomy is surgery that creates space by removing the lamina — the back part of a vertebra that covers your spinal canal. Also known as decompression surgery, laminectomy enlarges your spinal canal to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
This pressure most commonly caused is by bony overgrowths within the spinal canal, which can occur if you have arthritis in your spine. These overgrowths sometimes are referred to as bone spurs, but they're a normal side effect of the aging process in some people.
Some patients are able to have a same-day laminectomy, which means they do not need to stay in the hospital following surgery and are able to go home to recover. The procedure is performed using minimally invasive techniques resulting in smaller incisions, lower risk of infection and, for many people, a quicker recovery.
Spinal fusion is surgery to permanently connect two or more vertebrae in your spine, eliminating motion between them. Spinal fusion involves techniques designed to mimic the normal healing process of broken bones. During spinal fusion, your surgeon places bone or a bone-like material within the space between two spinal vertebrae. Metal plates, screws and rods may be used to hold the vertebrae together, so they can heal into one solid unit.
Because spinal fusion surgery immobilizes parts of your spine, it changes the way your spine can move. This places additional stress and strain on the vertebrae above and below the fused portion, and may increase the rate at which those areas of your spine degenerate.