When the cervical disease encompasses more than just the disc space, the spine surgeon may recommend removal of the vertebral body as well as the disc spaces at either end, to completely decompress the cervical canal. This procedure, a corpectomy, is often done for multi-level cervical stenosis with spinal cord compression caused by bone spur (osteophyte) growth.
The general procedure for anterior cervical corpectomy surgery is as follows:
The approach is similar to a discectomy spine surgery (anterior approach) although a larger and more vertical incision in the neck will often be used to allow more extensive exposure.
The spine surgeon then performs a discectomy at either end of the vertebral body that will be removed (e.g. C4-C5 and C5-C6 to remove the C5 vertebral body). More than one vertebral body may be removed.
The posterior longitudinal ligament is often removed to allow access to the cervical canal and to ensure complete removal of the pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots.
The defect must then be reconstructed with an appropriate fusion technique.