When a patient has neck surgery, the results are typically much better than for surgery of the low back. The reason is that the indications for surgery in the cervical spine are much better defined than they are for the lumbar region.
Allow me to explain why. A few decades ago, studies were done looking at neck surgery for patients who had neck pain that was not radiating into the arms. This is called axial neck pain and was due to arthritis in the joints of the neck. The results showed that outcomes for neck surgery for this reason were fairly poor. Patients did not get substantially better, and there was a high incidence of patients needing further surgery within a few years. So surgeons stopped doing it.
Due to this, the indications for neck surgery have been fairly well defined. Here is a list of 4 indications for neck surgery.
1. Fracture with instability. Patients who are involved in a car accident or a trauma may end up with broken bones in their neck and an unstable spinal column. These individuals need surgery in their
2. Herniated disc with radiculopathy- just because a patient has a herniated disc in their
If a person tries conservative treatments for over 6 weeks and the pain is not getting better, surgery can be considered. The results of surgery for a pinched nerve in the neck are very good at over 90 to 95% success rates. If a person does have motor weakness as mentioned, it should not be watched for a very long time as if it doesn’t get better even if they technically perfect surgery is performed the motor weakness may not improve if there was too long of a wait before doing the surgery.
3. Spinal stenosis- this is a problem that comes on from arthritis causing bony overgrowth along with soft tissue overgrowth. These can result in multiple
4. Spinal cord compression- a person’s
Neck surgery for these conditions often has a great outcome. The fact that neck surgery for pain that stays in the neck due to arthritis has been out of favor for a long time once again is the reason that the surgeries tend to do much better.