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Cervical Corpectomy Overview

What Is An Anterior Cervical Corpectomy with Fusion?

The term corpectomy is derived from the Latin words corpus (body) and -ectomy (removal). The procedure typically involves accessing the cervical spine through an anterior approach, or from the front. Spinal fusion is usually necessary because of the amount of vertebral bone and/or disc material that must be removed to achieve sufficient decompression of the neural structures.

Spinal fusion involves placing bone graft or bone graft substitute between two or more affected vertebrae to promote bone growth between the vertebral bodies. The graft material acts as a binding medium and also helps maintain normal disc height - as the body heals, the vertebral bone and bone graft eventually grow together to join the vertebrae and stabilize the spine.
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Why Do I Need This Procedure?

Nerve compression in the cervical can cause neck pain and/or pain, numbness and weakness that extends into the shoulders, arms and hands.

Degenerative spinal conditions, including herniated discs and bone spurs, are common causes of spinal nerve compression. Spinal fracture, tumor or infection also may result in pressure on the spinal nerves.

To determine whether your condition requires treatment with an anterior cervical corpectomy and fusion, your doctor will examine your spine and take your medical history, and may order an x-ray, computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of your cervical vertebrae. An anterior cervical corpectomy and fusion is typically recommended only after conservative treatment methods fail. Your surgeon will take a number of factors into consideration before making this recommendation, including the condition to be treated, your age, health and lifestyle and your anticipated level of activity following surgery. Please discuss this treatment option thoroughly with your spinal care provider.
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How Is A Cervical Corpectomy Performed?

Through an incision either to the right or left of the midline of your neck, your surgeon will:
  • Gently retract the muscles and tissues of the neck to expose the anterior vertebral column.
  • Remove a portion of the vertebral body(ies) and intervertebral disc(s) to access the compressed neural structures
  • Relieve the pressure by removing the source of the compression
  • Place a bone graft or bone graft substitute between the adjacent vertebrae at the decompression site
  • Attach instrumentation, such as plating and screws, along the treated vertebra(e) to provide extra support and stability while fusion and healing occurs.
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This information is not designed to replace a physician's independent judgment about the appropriateness or risks of a procedure for a given patient.
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