More extensive than a discetomy, a corpectomy is the process of removing the both the vertebra and the discs from the spine to reduce pressure, restore function and relieve pain. This is recommended when the spinal cord and/or nerve roots are compressed due to stenosis or osteophytes (bone spurs).
In an anterior cervical corpectomy and fusion, the surgeon first removes the discs at either end of the affected vertebral bodies. Next, the surgeon removes ligaments and bone to fully relieve pressure on the spine. Finally, the surgeon fuses surrounding vertebrae, often adding pins and rods for support, to create one continuous bone.
- An extensive back surgery procedure that includes elevated risks of spinal cord injury
- Only recommended after other, less invasive treatments have been exhausted
- Although associated with higher risks than other procedures, ACCF is often carries less risk of damage than the underlying back condition
- Anterior refers to the approach of the surgery, which is from the front of the neck (rather than the back or side)
- Cervical refers to the position on the spine, which is the upper or neck region
- Corpectomy means to remove the vertebral body and disc
- Fusion is the process of combining two adjacent vertebrae to create solid bone, thus eliminating any movement
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