Degeneration of bones and discs in the neck are referred to as cervical spine disease or cervical spondylosis. As age progresses, bones and cartilages in this region face wear and tear which results in problems such as herniated discs and bone spurs.
Neck pain, nagging soreness in the neck, muscle spasms, clicking or grinding sound while rotating or moving the head, dizziness and headaches might suggest presence of cervical spine spondylosis. Since spondylosis invokes pressure on the neighbouring nerves, pain could be felt at chest, ribs and abdomen areas.
Cervical spine spondylosis narrows the space around spinal cord and results in numbness, strain and lack of coordination in walking and loss of bladder and bowel control.
Imaging tests like neck x-ray, CT scan, MRI and Myelography would confirm the ailment.
First three cervical spines namely C1, C2 and C3 control head and neck and movements around them while C4 controls upward shoulder movements.
Spondylosis surgery includes removal of pain agent and fusion of spine. To remove the tissue that evokes nerve pressure, surgeon conducts decompression surgery and to conduct fusion, stabilization surgery is done.
Before going into decompression surgery let’s familiarize with terms such as ‘ectomy’ which means removal and ‘otomy’ which refers to opening.
Facetectomy and Laminoectomy removes facet joint and lamina or part of lamina (bony plate that protects spinal cord) respectively.
Foraminotomy creates an opening in the vertebra exit also known as foramen, so that nerve can exit smoothly. Laminotomy creates or enlarges opening in the bony plate so that the lamina does not press the nerve structure.
Laminoplasty is performed to create a hinge to lift lamina and mitigate compression.
The spine is accessed from the front to reach the abdomen and is known as anterior approach. Incision in the back enables posterior approach and access through the sides is lateral approach. However, anterior and posterior approaches are risky.
Complications associated with cervical spine spondylosis surgery include paralysis, inability to walk, anesthetic complications, infections associated with improper handling of wounds and complications associated with related injuries.
Non surgical remedies include acupuncture, bed rest, using brace, muscle relaxants, physical therapy, spinal injections. Chiropractic methods like employing ice, heat, ultrasound, massage, spinal manipulation can also be employed to cure the ailment.
Dr Karunakaran, spine specialist for more than two decades, has performed more than 3000 surgeries for various complications including scoliosis, cervical spine diseases, thoracotomies, laparotomy and disc replacement surgeries, to name a few.
Dr Karunakaran is also a pioneer in Tamil Nadu to perform percutaneous endoscopic lumbar discectomy under local anesthesia for disc prolapse and INSPACE-interspinous implant for lumbar canal stenosis-key hole spine surgery local anesthesia besides being fluent in pain management techniques of spine such as foraminal epidural steroid injection, facetal blocks and discography.