Anterior cervical discectomy is an operation where the cervical spine is reached through a small transverse incision in the front of your neck. After the soft tissues of the neck are separated, the intervertebral disc and bone spurs are removed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots. The space left between the vertebrae may be left open, or replaced with an artificial disc, or fused. If left open, the vertebrae may fuse or join together in time.

What Happens Afterward ?

Successful recovery from anterior cervical discectomy requires that you approach the operation and recovery with confidence based on a thorough understanding of each process. Dr. Lanman has the training and expertise to correct physical defects by performing the appropriate operation; he and the rest of the health care team will support your body’s efforts to heal its damaged tissues. Full recovery will also depend on you having a strong, positive attitude, setting small, realistic goals for improvement, and working steadily to accomplish each goal.

The Operation: Anterior Cervical Discectomy


Surgery for anterior cervical discectomy is performed with the patient lying on his or her back. A small transverse incision is made in the front of the neck, to one side.

Exposure and Removal of the Herniated Disc

After the soft tissues are pulled aside with a micro-retractor, the disc is exposed between the vertebrae. An operating microscope is always used as the disc is removed. Dr. Lanman believes that performing microsurgery under high magnification is critical in relieving pressure off the spinal cord and/or nerve roots.

Specialized instruments or a micro-surgical drill may be used to enlarge the disc space. This will help the surgeon to empty the disc space fully and relieve any pressure on the nerve or spinal cord from bone spurs or the ruptured disc.

Placement of the Bone Graft

Dr. Lanman frequently uses synthetic graft material with bone graft, which will be placed in the disc space to help fuse the vertebrae it lies between. Any of several graft shapes may be used.

Incision Closure

The operation is completed when the neck incision is closed in several layers. Dr. Lanman uses non-dissolving microsutures that do NOT require removal to provide a plastic-like closure.

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