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Cervical Discectomy

If you have a vertebral disc in your neck that has become herniated or diseased, you may be experiencing intense pain that radiates from your neck down to your arms. Such pain can make it very difficult for you to carry out even the simplest of daily tasks. Orthopedic surgeon Randall F. Dryer specializes in treating this pain through a procedure known as cervical discectomy.

Vertebral discs act as flexible spacers between the vertebrae throughout the spine, allowing for cushion and movement. However, if the outer wall of a disc ruptures, the pressure that discs normally help to mitigate can cause its inner material to protrude outward. If this protrusion presses against one of the nerve roots present at each vertebrae, it can cause pain locally as well as the areas connected by the nerve root. In the case of a herniated disc in the neck, arm pain is also common.

Cervical discectomy is a form of spine surgery where the damaged disc is removed through a small incision in the front of the neck. To fill the gap left by the removed disc, a bone graft can be placed, allowing the upper and lower vertebrae to fuse together. There are also artificial discs that can be implanted to help preserve the natural motion of your neck.

Cervical discectomy is only one of the solutions available to the orthopedic surgeons at Central Texas Spine Institute. Often, spine surgery can be avoided in favor of less invasive treatments that also require less recovery time. If you’re living with neck pain in or near Austin, request an appointment today, and let our experts determine your easiest road to recovery.

an MRI scan of a cervical disc

Benefits of Cervical Discectomy

  • Pain Relief:

    Cervical discectomy is a spine surgery designed to alleviate pain caused by herniated or degenerated discs in the neck. By removing the affected disc or a portion of it, pressure is relieved from the compressed nerve, leading to significant pain reduction.

  • Restored Mobility

    This spine procedure helps restore movement in the cervical spine, allowing patients to regain normal range of motion and flexibility. Many patients experience improved quality of life and the ability to participate in activities they were unable to before the surgery.

  • Minimally invasive:

    Cervical discectomy is usually performed using minimally invasive techniques, resulting in smaller incisions, less tissue disruption, and faster recovery compared to traditional open surgeries. Patients can expect shorter hospital stays, reduced post-operative pain, and earlier return to regular activities.

  • Lower risk of complications:

    The use of advanced spinal surgical techniques and technologies has significantly reduced the risk of complications associated with cervical discectomy. Some patients may still experience temporary post-operative discomfort, but serious complications are rare.

surgeons with tools next to them

Procedure Overview

Cervical discectomy involves removing the damaged or herniated disc that is causing symptoms. The procedure varies depending on the specific condition and the expertise of the spine surgeon. However, the general steps involve:

  • Anesthesia: Prior to the spine surgery, the patient is placed under general anesthesia to ensure a pain-free and comfortable procedure.
  • Incision: The spine surgeon makes a small incision in the front or back of the neck, typically less than an inch in length.
  • Disc removal: The spine surgeon carefully removes the damaged disc or portion of it, relieving pressure on the spinal nerves.
  • Disc replacement: In some cases, the removed disc may be replaced with an artificial disc or fused with adjacent vertebrae using bone grafts or implants to maintain stability.
  • Closure: The incision is closed using sutures or surgical staples, and a bandage is applied.

As this is just an overview, it is important to consult with a qualified spine surgeon who can provide specific details about each patient's unique situation. Here at Central Texas Spine Institute in Austin, our spine specialists are here to help answer your questions and ensure cervical discectomy is right for you. Reach out today.

Ideal Candidate for Cervical Discectomy

  • Persistent neck pain: Individuals experiencing persistent neck pain, especially when accompanied by radiating pain, weakness, or numbness in the arms, might be suitable candidates for cervical discectomy.
  • Failed conservative spine treatments: Patients who have attempted conservative spine treatments such as physical therapy, medications, and epidural injections without relief may benefit from cervical discectomy.
  • Diagnostic confirmation: Candidates must undergo physical examination and diagnostic tests such as X-rays, MRI, or CT scans to accurately diagnose the disc-related issue and determine if surgical intervention is necessary.
  • Good overall health: Candidates should have good overall health and be free from medical conditions that would pose significant risks during this particular type of spine surgery and recovery.
a woman in pain with her lower neck


Cervical discectomy at Central Texas Spine Institute offers numerous benefits, including pain relief, improved mobility, and a minimally invasive approach. This spine surgery procedure targets and effectively treats herniated or degenerated discs, allowing patients to enjoy a better quality of life. If you are experiencing persistent neck pain or disc-related symptoms, consult with our expert spine surgeon to determine if cervical discectomy is the right spine treatment option for you. Call today.