Cervical herniated disc neck surgery in workers’ compensation claims often involves an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). This neck surgery is used to treat neck problems such as cervical radiculopathy, disc herniation, fractures, and spinal instability caused by a work injury or job duties over time. In this procedure, the surgeon enters the neck from the front (the anterior region) and removes a spinal disc (discectomy). The vertebrae above and below the disc are then held in place with bone graft and sometimes metal hardware. The goal is to help the bones to grow together into one solid bone. This is known as fusion or arthrodesis.
Operating on the back of the neck is more commonly used for neck fractures. That procedure is called a Posterior Cervical Fusion.
In most cases, ACDF is used to stop symptoms from cervical disc disease. Discs start to degenerate as a natural part of aging and also from stress and strain on the job. Over time, the disc begins to collapse, and the space decreases between the vertebrae. The outer rings of the disc, the annulus, weaken and develop small cracks. The nucleus in the center of the disc may press on the weakened annulus and squeeze out – a herniated disc. The herniated disc may press on ligaments, nerves, or even the spinal cord, a source of pain, numbness, and weakness.
Discectomy is the removal of the disc (and any fragments) between the vertebrae. Once the disc is removed, surgeons spread the vertebrae apart to make room for the bone graft. This is bone material that can be taken from the top of the pelvis bone (autograft) or from a natural substitute (allograft). The bone graft separates and holds the vertebrae apart. Enlarging the space between the vertebrae widens the opening of the neural foramina, taking pressure off the spinal nerves that pass through them.
No movement occurs between the bones that are fused together. By holding the sore part of the neck steady, the fusion helps relieve pain. And it prevents additional wear and tear on the structures inside the section that was fused. This keeps bone spurs from forming, and it has been shown that fusion causes existing bone spurs to shrink. By fusing the bones together, surgeons hope that patients won’t have future pain and problems from cervical disc disease.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, McCormick Law Office attorneys are aggressive and hardworking in pursuing workers compensation benefits for workers with cervical herniated disc neck fusion surgery. We seek out the honest and trustworthy doctor opinions concerning work-related causation and permanent work restrictions in order to get the most benefits and highest workers comp settlements.