Procedure for Cervical Corpectomy


Cervical Corpectomy

Degenerative changes within and around the intervertebral spinal discs, joints and cervical spine are the key reasons for neck pain in current times. Moreover, people are suffering from severe neck and back oriented issues such as:

  • Herniated disc or bulging disc
  • Degenerative disc diseases
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Slipped Disc
  • Spondylolisthesis

Most of the patients undergo conservative treatment where the neck pain can be managed to a tolerable extent with the help of different way namely,

  • Physiotherapy
  • Ultraviolet light therapy
  • Pain killers
  • Steroids
  • Traction therapy spinal decompression
  • Decompression surgery or laminectomy

In case the conservative treatment fails to treat this issue, then in such a case cervical corpectomy is performed.

Composition of the Cervical Spine

There are seven cervical vertebra and six cervical disks in between them. These cervical discs provide cushioning when the vertebra rubs against each other during movement. The discs are made of flexible layer of cartilage which is tough. In has a soft interior called nucleus pup. This nucleus absorbs the shock.


When there is too much pressure on the spinal cord, corpectomy is performed and the degenerated vertebra is replaced with a bone graft .

A cervical fusion is performed after the vertebral body is removed. A bone graft is taken from either the pelvis or leg or from a donor and then used to hold the remaining vertebra in place. With the healing of the graft the vertebrae fuses.

A cervical spine fusion is performed:

  • For eliminating excess pressure caused due to bone spurs on the spinal cord
  • To prevent the vertebra from moving abnormally.

In cervical corpectomy procedure the vertebral bodies and the discs between each injured vertebra are removed. In cervical spine this is done from the front. An incision is made next to the trachea and the spine is carefully reached. Using an X- ray the disc and vertebra are identified. Along with the damaged vertebra and disc any bone spurs protruding beyond and causing pain and compression on the nerves are removed .Care is taken not to injure the blood vessels , nerve roots and spinal cord.


Approximately 9%-11% of males and 5%-6% of females have severe cervical problems.

What is the Average Length of Stay for This Surgery?

The patient is admitted 1 day prior to surgery. Post surgery, the patients needs to stay for 3 to 5 days.

Symptoms for Undergoing Cervical Corpectomy

The following are the symptoms that indicate the need for cervical corpectomy:

  • Radiating pain
  • Tingling sensation
  • Numbness in your legs, arms, or torso.
  • Local pain at the level of the vertebra
  • Stiff neck
  • Muscle spasm in the neck
  • Severe pain down one or both lower extremities
  • Weakness of the lower extremities
  • Incontinence of bowel and bladder
  • Problems in gait

Indications of Cervical Corpectomy

The following are the indications for Cervical Corpectomy:

  • Arthritis
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Herniated disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Myelopathy

Contraindication of Cervical Corpectomy

Cervical corpectomy is not advised to patients in following conditions -

  • Very old patients
  • Severe degenerative nerve disease
  • Systemic infections
  • Severely untreated heart, lung, kidney conditions
  • Psychological pain

Complications of Spine Surgery

Every surgery has some chances of facing some complications. In cervical corpectomy spine surgery, the patients may face following conditions sometimes.

  • Pain
  • Impairment
  • Additional surgery
  • Anaesthesia Complications
  • Thrombophlebitis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Lung Problems / infection, or pneumonia
  • Fracture
  • Implant Migration
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Transitional Syndrome
  • Pseudoarthrosis / unhealed joints


Following things should be kept in mind for faster recovery

  • Pulsatile stocking to prevent clots
  • Minimal exercise during early days/ physiotherapy under guidance to keep the strength of arms and legs.
  • Pain medication and steroids if necessary
  • After fusion more vigorous exercises are recommended

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