There are a number of different surgeries that people get for pinched
nerves or neurological conditions as a result of a neck or a spinal cord
injury. If a person has a bulging or herniated disk that impinges on the
spinal cord that pressure has to be relieved. It's normally relieved
through a procedure called a discectomy.
In a discectomy, the surgeon will actually shave or remove part of the disk
that's causing the problem or impinging on the spinal cord. There are other
types of procedures out there. A lot of people, particularly people in
their 40s, 50s, and 60s will develop what are called bone spurs.
Osteophytes, or bone spurs, grow on the edges of the bones, the edges of
the vertebrae, which are square-shaped bones to begin with.
As a person ages and those bones touch, because the person hyper-extends
themselves, they move a certain way, every time they touch, that bone spur
gets bigger and bigger and bigger, and what the body is doing is it's
saying, "We don't want to touch these bones." Eventually, it gets to a
point where those bone spurs cause pain because they are so large.
At that point, that person may need a procedure, what's called a
laminectomy. In a laminectomy, the surgeon is going to try to cut off or
remove the spurs as much as possible, and see if that resolves the pain.
There are other types of procedures. Another very common procedure is
what's called a fusion.
When a fusion is done, metal hardware and bone grafting is taken, and the
bones of the spine are actually fused together as one. So they grow
together, they heal together, and they become one bone and that relieves
the pain and discomfort that that person had. It does come at a price of
limited range of motion, but most patients under those circumstances are
willing to pay that price of limited motion to relieve the pain.