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Posterior Cervical Microdiscectomy Indications in Portland, Oregon

What is a Posterior Cervical Microdiscectomy?

A posterior cervical microdiscectomy is a small surgery performed using a microscope to remove a disc herniation that is pushing on a nerve root and causing arm or neck pain. Only the herniated piece of disc is removed and the remainder of the disc is saved.

What Are the Indications for Performing a Posterior Cervical Microdiscectomy?

The most common reason to have surgery is to alleviate pain which has not resolved within a reasonable time period. Many people would like to be more active than their pain allows and this usually persuades them to have surgery.

If your pain is mild or moderately tolerable we do not recommend you proceed with surgery. We also feel that numbness, tingling, or the loss of a reflex is not sufficient to indicate surgery is absolutely necessary. Muscle weakness, especially if worsening, is a good reason to consider operative intervention.

Microdiscectomy is quite effective in relieving pain radiating down the arm, however, it is not particularly effective in relieving neck pain. Most times an anterior cervical discectomy must be performed to adequately relieve pressure on the nerve or spinal cord however in disc herniations that are lateral, or to the side of the spinal cord, posterior cervical microdiscectomy may be an option.

What Are the details of a posterior cervical Microdiscectomy?

During surgery, you are carefully positioned face down using a head holder. A small incision is made over the back of your neck, at the level of the ruptured disc. The muscles are dissected over to the side to allow us to look at the back part of your vertebrae called the lamina. A small amount of bone is trimmed from the lamina to create a space between the two vertebrae. Utilizing a microscope, the nerve is visualized and then pulled towards the middle part of the spine. Under microscope control, we then look very carefully underneath the nerve root to pull any free fragments or discs. In many situations, in which there is only bony impingement, we do not have to look at the disc; we simply remove the area of the bone spurs.

Dr. Button is experienced in posterior cervical microdiscectomy and if you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss this or other procedures further, click here.

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