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Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion

Anterior lumbar interbody fusion is a type of spinal fusion procedure that is performed through an anterior (front) incision to fuse (join) the bones of the spine together. This procedure is performed to relieve lower back pain in patients with degenerative conditions such as spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease and others. It is often performed in conjunction with a laminectomy or with the use of instrumentation such as metal screw or rods to hold the bones in place.

Procedure
During the anterior lumbar interbody fusion procedure, an incision is made to the left of the belly button and the abdominal muscles are spread apart in order to access the spinal column from the front of the body. The affected intervertebral disc is removed and a bone graft or metal spacer is inserted into the empty space to hold the two surrounding discs in place. This procedure usually takes two to three hours to perform and is done under general anesthesia.

Recovery
After surgery, patients can usually return home after three to four days. You should avoid bending at the waist and lifting objects heavier than five pounds for the first two to four weeks. Patients will need to undergo physical and occupational therapy in order to restore function and strength to the back after this procedure. Most patients can return to work and other light activities two to three weeks after surgery, but should avoid sports and other physical activity for up to three months. Your doctor will give you specific instructions for your recovery.

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion

Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery removes an intervertebral disc and/or bone spurs that are putting pressure on nerve roots. This condition is a result of a herniated or degenerated disc and is known as nerve root compression. Nerve root compression can lead to pain in the neck and arms, lack or coordination, and numbness in the arms.

The removed disc may be replaced with a small bone graft which will allow the vertebrae to fuse together over time. The space may also be left open, or a metal plate may be inserted to stabilize the spine while it heals. As the name describes, this procedures is done through the front, or anterior, of the body. An incision is made in the front of the neck, to one side and the disc is removed. Removing the herniated disc relieves the pressure placed on the nerve root and therefore relieves the symptoms as well.

Anterior Cervical Corpectomy

Cervical corpectomy is a surgical procedure that removes a portion of the vertebra and intervertebral discs for thorough decompression of the spine and surrounding nerves. This procedure is often performed on patients with bone spurs that narrow the spinal canal within the cervical (upper) spine. By removing one or more vertebrae, the spine can be decompressed and symptoms such as pain, weakness and tingling can be relieved.

During the cervical corpectomy procedure, an incision is made to the side of the neck and the tissue is spread to access the cervical spine. The discs above and below the affected vertebra are removed, as is the middle portion of the bone. A bone graft may be used with or without metal plates and screws to provide stability after surgery and hold the restructured bones in place so that they heal properly.

After surgery, patients may experience some pain at the incision site. Symptoms may improve gradually. Most patients are able to get up and walk around the same day as their procedure. You will be able to return home after a two to three day hospital stay.  Your doctor will advise you as to when you can return to work and other everyday activities. Patients are often encouraged to maintain a regular exercise program after surgery.

Prestige® Artificial Cervical Disc Replacement

The Prestige® artificial cervical disc is an FDA-approved prosthetic device used to replace damaged or degenerated discs within the cervical spine in patients with radiculopathy and myelopathy caused by degenerative disc disease. The device is made of stainless steel and involves a ball on top and trough on the bottom to replicate the structure and function of the discs.

During the disc replacement procedure, the damaged disc is removed through an anterior (front) incision in the neck, similar to a discectomy with fusion procedure. But unlike traditional spinal fusion procedures, surgery with the Prestige artificial disc allows patients to maintain movement and flexibility within the treated area after surgery.

This procedure is most often performed on patients with severe neck pain that radiates through the arm as well. Many patients also experience numbness, tingling and weakness within the arms as a result of nerve root compression or irritation. After surgery, patients can return home after a one or two day hospital stay, and can return to work and other light activity after two to three weeks, with full recovery taking approximately 12 weeks.

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