Surgical options for nerve pain in the neck include: Anterior Cervical Diskectomy and Fusion -ACDF-, Posterior Cervical Laminoforminaminotomy and Artificial Disk Replacement, or ADP. Doctors typically resort to surgery for spinal nerve pain, also called cervical radiculopathy, when more conservative treatments prove ineffective. These surgeries vary in complexity and techniques, but share the same end goals of reducing nerve tension, which in turn reduces pain, stabilizes the spine and restores alignment.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that ACDF is the most common and popular surgery for patients suffering from cervical radiculopathy. With this surgery, surgeons make incisions along the front of the neck, which provides access to the spinal cord. They remove the disk trapping the surrounding nerve, then perform a bone graft and insert screws and plates, which help fuse and stabilize the two nearest vertebrae.
PCL involves removing portions of surrounding bone compressing nerves, and sometimes requires removal of entire disks. This surgery eliminates the need for fusing vertebrae together, which expedites the healing process.
ADR functions similarly to ACDF, in that surgeons remove disks. However, they replace worn disks with artificial disks made of synthetic materials. Patients benefit from pain alleviation and restoration of movement, and do not have to worry about artificial disks wearing over time.
Despite offering pain relief, these surgeries present some risks, including infections, bleeding, anesthesia allergies and spinal cord damage.