Rarely is a Wisconsin work-related cervical or neck injury case scheduled for immediate surgery. The doctor may suggest immediate surgery if there are signs of pressure developing on the spinal cord or if muscles are becoming weaker very rapidly. But most of the time, even in the case of cervical radiculopathy, shooting pain down the arm, conservative treatment for the work injury will be pursued. For most work-related neck conditions, doctors prefer to try nonsurgical treatments for a minimum of three months before considering surgical options. Most people with neck pain tend to get better, not worse. Even people who have degenerative spine changes tend to gradually improve with time. Surgery may be suggested when severe pain is not improving.
There are many different operations for neck pain and herniated cervical discs. The goal of nearly all spine operations is to remove pressure from the nerves of the spine, to stop excessive motion between two or more vertebrae, or both. The type of surgery that is best depends on the patient’s conditions and symptoms.
A foraminotomy is done to open up the neural foramen and relieve pressure on a spinal nerve root. A foraminotomy may be done because of bone spurs or inflammation. In foraminotomy, the area of the neural foramina is enlarged or opened up to create more space for the nerve roots.
The lamina is the covering layer of the bony ring of the spinal canal. It forms a roof-like structure over the back of the spinal cord. When the nerves in the spinal canal are being squeezed by a herniated disc or from bone spurs pushing into the canal, a laminectomy removes part or all of the lamina to release pressure on the spinal cord.
In a discectomy, the surgeon removes a problem disc. Surgeons usually do this surgery from the front of the neck. This procedure is called anterior cervical discectomy. In most patients, discectomy is done together with a procedure called cervical fusion.
McCormick Law Office attorneys in Milwaukee, Wisconsin have extensive experience with work-related cervical or neck injury surgery cases. Most of our work injury cases involve injured workers who have surgery and cannot return to work in their former job or occupation due to work-related permanent restrictions. On the other hand, surgery is not a prerequisite to a successful worker’s compensation claim. Many workers are assigned permanent work restrictions in the absence of surgery, especially in Waukesha and other conservative southeastern Wisconsin communities. The key is whether the restrictions are permanent and caused by a traumatic work injury or by job duties over time. This is where expert medical opinions are necessary.