In his latest installment to the Total Spine series of instructional videos, Dr. Paul McCormick describes retropleural thoracotomy, a surgical technique used to treat complex spinal conditions of the thoracic and lumbar spine. “Retropleural thoracotomy is an important...
|What is Cervical Microdiscectomy?
Cervical = having to do with the spine in the neck
A cervical microdiscectomy is a procedure in which a surgeon uses a microscope and microsurgical tools to remove a portion of a damaged disc in the cervical spine (neck).
|When is this Procedure Performed?
A cervical microdiscectomy is performed for certain patients with a herniated disc in the cervical spine.
A herniated disc can compress (put pressure on) the nerves that exit the spinal cord. (This condition is sometimes known as a pinched nerve.) Compression of a nerve in the cervical spine can cause pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in the shoulders, arms or hands.
Before surgery is considered, the doctor may recommend nonoperative measures such as pain medications and physical therapy. However, if these nonoperative measures do not provide the relief needed, surgery may be considered.
|How is this Procedure Performed?
A cervical microdiscectomy is a minimally invasive surgery. Minimally invasive surgery is performed with advanced techniques that minimize injury to the body, leave less scarring, and allow for a faster recovery.
This procedure is performed under general anesthesia. In order to access the spine, the surgeon will use tubular dilators (tubes of expanding diameter) to create a channel through the muscles of the neck. The surgeon may then remove a small portion of the lamina and facet joint (a procedure called a laminoforaminotomy) to reveal the herniated disc and the inflamed nerve. Using microsurgical tools, the surgeon will remove the portion of the disc that compresses the nerve.
|How Should I Prepare for this Procedure?
Make sure to tell your doctor about any medications that you’re taking, including over the counter medication and supplements, especially medications that can thin your blood such as aspirin. Your doctor may recommend you stop taking these medications before your procedure. To make it easier, write all of your medications down before the day of surgery.
Be sure to tell your doctor if you have an allergy to any medications, food, or latex (some surgical gloves are made of latex).
On the day of surgery, remove any nail polish or acrylic nails, do not wear makeup and remove all jewelry.wigs/hairpiece. Also, you will need to remove contact lenses, eyeglasses, and dentures.
If staying overnight, bring items that may be needed, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, and dentures.
|What Should I Expect After the Procedure?
Patients are usually discharged on the day of surgery or the next morning.
Patients are usually encouraged to walk as soon as possible, often on the day of surgery. In general, patients are encouraged to increase their activities as they are able to tolerate, but should refrain from strenuous exercise until cleared by their surgeon.
The surgeon will schedule a follow up visit, typically 4-6 weeks after surgery.
Physical therapy is rarely required. If physical therapy is needed, it will typically be started at the time of the follow up visit. Physical therapy will focus on strengthening the neck and increasing range of motion.
|Preparing for Your Appointment
Drs. Paul C. McCormick, Michael G. Kaiser, Peter D. Angevine, Alfred T. Ogden, Christopher E. Mandigo, Patrick C. Reid and Richard C.E. Anderson (Pediatric) are experts in cervical microdiscectomy.
Helpful Surgery Overviews
Dr. McCormick will choose the treatment method specific to each patient and situation. Some of the condition’s treatment options may be listed below.
Dr McCormick video on microsurgical resection of a synovial cyst causing severe lumbar spinal stenosis published in Operative Neurosurgery
Synovial Cysts are a benign and fairly common condition in adult patients. They can arise in most joints throughout the body. In most cases they are asymptomatic but in the spine they can enlarge to produce severe spinal stenosis and pressure on the spinal nerves...
Dr. McCormick invited speaker at 37th Annual Meeting of the Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves
Dr. McCormick was a featured speaker at the recent 37th Annual Joint Spine Section Annual Spine Summit meeting held in San Diego. He presented at the Innovative Technology Special Session: Operative Video Segments. His presentation was entitled “Intramedullary Tumor,...