In neurosurgery, spine surgery deals mostly with degenerative problems of the cervical and lumbar spine that causes the compression of nerve roots or even the spinal cord. Compression of the nerve root causes pain in the arms or legs, sometimes it can lead to weakness of the arms or legs. Spine fractures may also cause nerve root or spinal cord compression and require surgical stabilisation.
Degenerative disease in the cervical spine can cause compression of the cervical nerves, most frequently the lower cervical nerve roots C5, C6 and C7. In some cases the whole cervical canal can be narrow and causing compression of the cervical cord leading to a “cervical myelopathy”.
The goal of cervical spine surgery is to free the compression of the nerve roots or the spinal cord.
Procedures on the cervical spine
- anterior cervical discectomy with placement of a cage
- anterior discectomy with placement of a disc prosthesis
- cervical laminectomy with or without posterior stabilisation
- cervical corpectomy
Degenerative diseases in the lumbar spine also cause compression of the nerve roots most frequently L4, L5 or S1.
A nerve root compression can be due either to a prolapsed disc or a foraminal stenosis. This causes symptoms known as “sciatica”.
Sometimes the whole lumbar canal is too narrow and compresses the nerve roots at multiple levels. This condition is known as “lumbar canal stenosis” and causes symptoms known as “neurogenic claudication” and also can cause pain and weakness of the lower limbs while walking.
Degenerative process in the lumbar spine can be associated also with a slip from one vertebral body onto the other, a condition known as “spondylolisthesis”.
The goal of the lumbar spine surgery is to decompress the nerve roots. Sometimes and especially in case of “spondylolisthesis”, the decompression procedure needs to be combined with a stabilisation of one or more lumbar segments with screws and cages in the disc space to induce fusion.
Procedures on the lumbar spine
- lumbar discectomy
- selective lumbar decompression
- stabilisation one or multiple levels
* all medical information on this web page is not exhaustive and does not replace a medical appointment