Removal of the vertebral body (see Normal structure of the Spine) through the front of the neck. It also includes removal of the disc above and below of the vertebral body. This is then replaced with a bone graft (artificial or bone from the pelvis) or a cage. A plate is inserted connecting the vertebra above and below the removed vertebral body. Depending on the underlying cause and extend of disease, additional stabilisation from the back of the neck (cervical lateral mass fusion) might be necessary.
Decompression of spinal cord (myelopathy) and nerve roots (radiculopathy), removal of a diseased vertebra (i.e.tumour, infection, fracture)
Infection, bleeding, cerebrospinal fluid leak, neurological damage including paralysis, hoarse voice which is usually transient but can be permanent (due to injury of the recurrent laryngeal nerve which supplies the ‘voice box’), stroke, no improvement of symptoms, death in cases of high cervical cord injuries, failure of inserted bone-graft, cage or plates causing instability. Overall the risks are similar to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion but depending on the underlying cause and number of vertebral bodies removed, the risks are higher.