Motion-sparing surgery in the cervical spine is a procedure used to surgically manage patients with disease of the cervical spine without requiring fusion. This helps preserve or maintain motion across the spinal segments. Disease of the neck and cervical spine can cause significant pain and weakness and may require surgery in order to remove pressure from the nerves and the spinal cord. Oftentimes, patients are best served by a subsequent fusion. However, in some instances, it may be possible to preserve motion and avoid neck stiffness. Our team is trained in multiple motion-sparing techniques, which, if appropriate, can offer relief without compromising motion.
One such technique is called laminoplasty. In this procedure, an incision is made at the back of neck to carefully expose the spine. Without interfering with the structures that provide stability and motion, the surgeon opens the back of the spinal canal and creates space using bone graft, plates, and screws. This decompresses the spine and alleviates pressure while maintaining stability and motion.
Another surgical option for motion preservation is cervical disc replacement. In this procedure, a small incision is made at the front of the neck to permit careful access to the front of the spine. The entire disc is carefully removed, taking pressure off the nerves and spinal cord. A disc replacement device is then inserted in its place. This can provide relief of the pre-surgical symptoms while preserving motion at the involved surgical site.
When deciding on a treatment plan, the patient and surgeon will discuss symptoms, goals, and exam findings in order to determine the best course of action. While this procedure may not be appropriate for every patient, the approach will be considered by the surgeon on a case-by-case basis.