Why Would I Need a Corpectomy Procedure?
To relief pressure on your spinal cord, the best spinal doctors may recommend a corpectomy. The term comes from the Latin words corpus, meaning body, and ectomy, meaning removal. A corpectomy is a surgical procedure to remove vertebral bone and intervertebral disc material. It relieves pressure on your spinal cord and spinal nerves.
Your spinal nerves are obviously very sensitive, which is why they’re protected within your spinal column. Any pressure on your spinal cord can result in:
- Pain and stiffness in your neck, back or lower back
- Numbness, cramping or weakness in your arms, hands or legs
- Sciatica, characterized by a searing pain that spreads down to your buttocks and leg
- Weakness in a foot, enough to cause a limp
- Loss of sensation in your feet
- Poor hand coordination
- Loss of bowel or bladder control, in severe cases
- Problems walking or standing due to extreme pain in your legs
All these symptoms of spinal compression risk curtailing your lifestyle. They bother you when you try to work, socialize or do any other daily activities. Without treatment, your life will change, and not for the better.
How Does Corpectomy Work?
Nerve compression is one of the most common spinal problems. There are many causes for it — including stenosis in your neck or lower back and a disc herniation in your neck, mid-back or lumbar spine. Your treatment usually follows a typical path that includes:
- Your spinal specialist uses advanced equipment to correctly diagnose spinal nerve compression. Diagnosis also includes review of your medical history.
- Conservative treatment. Your doctor first tries non-invasive treatment first, such as pain medications, steroid injections, physical therapy and weight loss exercises.
- Corpectomy surgery. When the non-surgical treatments don’t work or when your symptoms are severe enough, Dr. Skovrlj proceeds to surgery as a long-term solution. During the corpectomy procedure, your spine surgeon removes enough vertebral bone and/or disc material to decompress the spinal cord and root nerves.
- Disc or vertebra replacement. If necessary, an implant fills the space in your spine, providing strength and stability to your spine, no matter where it’s located. A cervical disc replacement is the same as a thoracic or lumbar disc replacement.
- Spinal fusion. If your neurosurgeon had to remove a vertebral disc, he may have to fuse vertebrae together to replace missing spinal bone and ensure your spinal column is stable.
At NU-Spine in Edison, NJ, your spinal doctor has access to the best surgical equipment and technology for the most effective treatment. By using advanced spinal treatment procedures and cutting-edge technology, Dr. Skovrlj boosts your chances of success.
Are My Recovery Chances from Corpectomy Good?
Corpectomy is surgery on your spine. You can minimize any risks by trusting Dr. Skovrlj and his team. He’s a renowned neurosurgeon who has focused his career on spinal problems. Your chances of a full and lasting recovery, therefore, are excellent when Dr. Skovrlj performs the procedure.
This spinal procedure requires you to be put under general anesthesia, so you’re not conscious during the operation. For this reason, it may be completed in a hospital setting. After surgery:
- You’re usually required to spend the night. Once your doctor examines you, you’re discharged the next day.
- Your incision is sealed and covered with a surgical dressing or steri strips. Your doctor advises you to remove them after about a week.
- You need to schedule follow-up visits. Your spinal doctor at NU-Spine conducts tests to monitor how well you’re healing, especially if you received a bone fusion.
- A full recovery typically takes six to eight weeks.
Where Do I Need a Corpectomy?
A compression problem in your spinal column can occur anywhere in your spine. Although it can happen in your mid-back or thoracic spine, its more common in either your neck, the cervical spine, or in your lower back, the lumbar spine. After a confirmed diagnosis, your spine surgeon likely recommends one of three surgical options, including:
- Anterior cervical corpectomy. This procedure involves removing vertebral bone and intervertebral disc material through the front of your neck.
- Anterior lumbar corpectomy. This procedure also removes vertebral bone and intervertebral disc material, but from your lumbar spine, through your abdomen in the front.
- Thoracic corpectomy. This procedure involves the removal of damaged vertebrae and intervertebral discs from your thoracic spine, in the upper or middle back.