What Is A Cervical Discectomy?
A cervical discectomy is performed in order to remove one or more discs from the neck in order to relieve the irritation or compression of nerves caused by a herniated disc.
Why Is A Cervical Discectomy Performed?
A cervical discectomy is most commonly performed to alleviate the symptoms caused by a herniated disc. Some of the symptoms include pain, numbness, and weakness which may radiate down your arms or legs. The disc becomes herniated when the softer material inside the disc, the nucleus, pushes through the ligaments, the annulus which connects each vertebra.
A herniated disc can be caused by a motor vehicle accident or fall when the stress applied to the spinal column during the collision causes the disc to be forced out of place. Typically a cervical discectomy is combined with a fusion but the procedure may be done without a fusion for younger patients between 20 and 45 years old. However, some surgeons still believe a fusion should always be done following a discectomy.
How Long Will My Recovery Be?
Just as with any surgery your recovery time will depend on you. You should be able to get out of bed within an hour or two after surgery but you will likely be required to either wear a hard or soft neck collar. You should expect to be able to go home the day after surgery. However, you may have to wait up to two weeks before you can resume driving. Depending on the physical demands of your job, you should be back to work within a few weeks. However, if you have a physical job, you should be able to get back to light work duties about four weeks after the surgery and you can expect to resume heavier work and sports activities within two to three months. You will likely be fully recovered from surgery within three months.
During your recovery you should limit activities involving lifting, bending, and stooping for several weeks after your discectomy. You may also need to minimize sitting for long periods of time for a few months.
What Should I Expect If I Am Prescribed Physical Therapy?
You will likely need physical therapy. At first your therapy will mostly be comprised of ice and electrical stimulation to control pain and inflammation. As you progress additional treatments will be added slowly to improve your cardiovascular health which may include walking, arm cycling, and stationary cycling. You will also learn how to protect your neck which you lift and carry heavier and heavier items. Eventually you will be transitioned to work hardening which will not only strengthen your neck but it will teach you how to perform tasks in ways to keep your neck safe and free of extra strain.
Don’t Wait To Discuss Your Case
Contact Attorney Doug Stoehr if you had to undergo a cervical discectomy due to an accident that occurred through no fault of your own. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our west-central Pennsylvania law firm by calling 814-515-9074 or email us.