Full Endoscopic Cervical Discectomy

Endoscopic cervical discectomy is one of the most common surgical procedures for problems in the cervical spine. The term discectomy literally means to “remove the disc.” This can be either partial or complete removal of the disc, depending on how much is required to relieve pressure on a spinal nerve or the spinal cord caused by a herniated disc. Because this procedure is minimally invasive without disrupting any adjacent tissues, the process of healing is much quicker.

Indications for Cervical Discectomy

Surgical intervention through cervical discectomy procedures is usually done to treat degenerative changes to the cervical spine as a result of:

  • herniation
  • disc bulges
  • bone spurs.

Cervical discectomy is recommended when there is suddenly worsening of symptoms or risk of mobility loss or paralysis. Some of the common symptoms that may present are/;

  • nerve pain in the arm
  • muscular weakness
  • reduced co-ordination
  • neck pain

difficulty in turning the neck to either side 

What Happens During the Procedure?

The surgery is typically performed under general anaesthesia. The patient lies down and the surgeon makes an incision at a point marked on the skin with reference to imaging studies. An endoscope and other required surgical instruments are passed through the incision to the site of surgery. The camera at the end of the endoscope shows a video of the surrounding structures in real time so that the surgeon can see exactly what they are doing. After identifying the structures that are causing irritation or trauma to the nerve, those portion are carefully trimmed away to free the pinched nerve. After the required adjustments are made the surgeon gently removes the inserted instruments from the incision and seals it with stitches to prevent bleeding, promote healing and reduce the chance of infections.

Once the operation, is over you will be given medication to reduce inflammation, perception of pain and antibiotics if deemed necessary through intravenous.

The procedure typically takes an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how many levels are operated on. After the procedure you will recover for two to four hours before going home.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

In most cases, you can walk out of the hospital within a few hours of having surgery with pain medication. Your doctor will advise you to rest and not perform strenuous activities for at least 2 to 3 days.

Immediately after surgery you might require a little assistance while sitting or walking. You will be trained with some light stretches and physiotherapy in the hospital. After 4 weeks of recovery, physiotherapy can be resumed. This can be particularly useful for those who had pre=operative weakness in the arms, neck or shoulders. Your physiotherapist may help work on you until you regain muscle strength, which will be at least a few weeks.


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