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Why would C5-C6 neck surgery be necessary?

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Quick Answer

Neck surgery for a C5-C6 condition is necessary when chronic pain does not respond to conservative treatments, Laser Spine Institute explains. Conservative treatments include pain medication, physical therapy, exercise and behavior modification.

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Full Answer

Level C5-C6 pinched nerves in the neck begin with no symptoms, then slowly develop pain in the area if left untreated, Laser Spine Institute says. This is most commonly caused by a natural degenerative aging process. Herniated discs, bulging discs or narrow neural passageways are signs of this condition. When these conditions pinch against the cervical nerve root or the top of the spinal cord, they cause pain. The areas of the body most commonly affected include the clavicle, tops of the shoulders, lateral sections of the arms or insides of the hands.

Most people recover from the pain caused by this condition over time with conservative treatments, WebMD adds. Surgery is sometimes needed in cases of severe numbness or pain. Artificial disc surgery is one treatment option for patients in this situation. This type of surgery is only necessary for people who do not have osteoporosis, joint disease, infections, inflammation or allergies to stainless steel. Complications from this type of surgery range from infections to excessive bleeding. Other risks include damage to the nerves, spinal cord, esophagus and vocal cords. Some patients experience negative reactions to anesthesia, continued neck pain, or inability to heal after surgery. Medical professionals weigh these risks against the benefits of the neck surgery.

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