When considering neck surgery there are a number of questions you may have:
- Do I Need Neck Surgery?
- What is the Difference Between a Discectomy and a Spinal Fusion Surgery?
- What Should I Look for in a Spine Surgeon for Neck Surgery?
- How Long Does It Take to Recover from Neck Surgery?
- Is Physical Therapy Required After Neck Surgery?
- What are Some Things I can Do Before Neck Surgery for a Faster Recovery?
- What Should I Do if I Think I Might Need Neck or Spine Surgery?
- I Have Been Told I Need Surgery on My Spine. Should I Get a Second Opinion?
Do I Need Neck Surgery?
There are many reasons a patient may need neck or cervical spine surgery, however most of the time we are able to treat patients successfully without needing a surgical procedure. Our Comprehensive Spine Center team includes a full array of experts, including physiatrists who are often able to treat neck or spine problems without surgery. If we feel surgery is the best option for you, one of our board-certified spine surgeons will fully evaluate your case and will discuss your options with you.
Some of the more common reasons for undergoing neck surgery or cervical spine surgery include:
- Relieving pressure against a nerve from a disc herniation
- Decompressing the spinal cord
- Removal of a degenerated disc and stabilizing the spine
- Treating broken vertebrae in the neck
Patients should seek out an experienced neurosurgeon who is committed to finding the least invasive treatment approach appropriate to your condition.
What is the Difference Between a Discectomy and a Spinal Fusion Surgery?
These are two very different procedures. A discectomy usually involves the removal of a disc fragment that is compressing a nerve root. This is often a smaller operation with a faster recovery. A spinal fusion surgery can also involve a discectomy but is typically a more complex procedure where the spinal bones are fixed in place with small metal screws to provide stability to the spine. Usually, the recovery process is somewhat longer after a fusion operation. Our spine surgeons often employ minimally invasive techniques for spine fusion to ensure the fastest recovery possible.
What Should I Look for in a Spine Surgeon for Neck Surgery?
It is important to look for a spine surgeon who has training and expertise in complex spinal surgery and experience with minimally invasive procedures. You should inquire about your surgeon’s board certification, experience, and if they have undergone any specialized training in spine surgery. This will help ensure you are seeing the most qualified surgeon possible and that you will receive the best treatment for your spine condition.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from Neck Surgery?
This varies depending on the type of surgery you need and the type of condition you have. While some patients can go home on the same day of the surgery, some patients stay in the hospital for one to two nights following a more complex spine surgery. This depends on the complexity of the procedure and the severity of the condition. While you will be able to engage in light activities following neck surgery, your surgeon will typically advise you to prevent any excessive strain on your neck for the first few weeks. Your neurosurgeon may also recommend physical therapy to help you recover faster.
Is Physical Therapy Required After Neck Surgery?
Physical therapy is often recommended following spine surgery. Depending on your surgery and how you are recovering, you may need physical therapy for several weeks to help the recovery process. Your spine surgeon will discuss this with you and prescribe the most appropriate post operative physical therapy program for your condition.
What are Some Things I can Do Before Neck Surgery for a Faster Recovery?
Staying in good general health always helps the post operative recovery process. Control of any pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and maintaining a healthy body weight will help your recovery as well as minimize the risks of surgery. For patients who smoke, smoking cessation is critical to having the best chances of a successful neck surgery.
What Should I Do if I Think I Might Need Neck or Spine Surgery?
Please contact us to speak to our Comprehensive Spine Center team of board certified neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and physiatrists who can help diagnose your condition and start you on the road to recovery. Click here to contact us.
I Have Been Told I Need Surgery on My Spine. Should I Get a Second Opinion?
We always recommend that patients get multiple opinions if they have been offered spine surgery. If you have already been offered surgery for your spine condition at another center and you would like a second opinion from our team of spine specialists, you can request a second opinion with our experts through our second opinion program. The second opinion process is completely online, and patients will usually receive our expert opinion within seven days.