When Is Cervical Endoscopic Discectomy the Right Choice?
Friday, 01 May 2015 14:19

If you are suffering from neck and back pain, or pain and tingling in your arms, you may have heard about a procedure known as a cervical endoscopic discectomy (CED). A CED is just one of many treatments now used to address this kind of pain, and it is preferred in many cases because it is minimally invasive, highly effective, and has a short recovery time. However, it is not appropriate for all forms of neck and back pain and it is rarely the first treatment recommended. So, what exactly is a CED and when is it the right choice?

"back pain" sign

A discectomy of any kind is a surgery in which a small amount of material is removed from the spine to ease pain. Unlike other discectomies however, an endoscopic discectomy does not require opening up a large working area along the spine. Only a tiny incision is made and an endoscope is inserted through it. The endoscope is essentially a camera-like device that allows the surgeon to work remotely on a large area of your spine without a large incision. It is a tiny tool guided on a wire so that the surgery can be as non-invasive as possible. A "cervical" endoscopic discectomy simply means that the procedure is performed on the neck.

A CED is generally recommended for three types of problems:

  • A herniated disk – If you have a herniated disk in the neck, a CED allows your doctor to remove the herniated material and provide relief.
  • A bulged disk – Bulged disks are a normal part of the aging process, but in some cases they cause pain. When this happens, a CED can solve it.
  • Brachial neuritis – The brachial nerve runs from the neck along the shoulder and down the arm. When this nerve is pinched, it causes brachial neuritis, or pain and tingling down the arm. Often, the cause relates to the disks in the neck and it can be solved by a CED.

A CED is not always the right answer for these conditions, however. Generally, your doctor will try less invasive treatments first, such as anti-inflammatories, and a CED is only recommended if they do not work. Additionally, in some cases a more intensive surgical procedure will be necessary. But CED is preferred whenever possible because you can be up and walking around the same day as the procedure and recovery time is generally very short.

As with all medical procedures, consult your doctor about your specific condition. If you have any other questions or concerns about this or other treatments, contact us at Spine Centers of America. We are here to help!

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