A corpectomy is a surgical procedure to repair neck bones. It involves removing all or part of the vertebrae to decompress the spinal cord and nerves.
The procedure is performed under general anaesthesia. The cervical spine is accessed through a small incision in the front of the neck and a discectomy to remove the vertebrae. The ligament might also be removed to fully relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots. In some instances, spinal fusion is used on defective vertebrae.
Your neck will most likely feel stiff or sore and you may find it hard to sit still for long periods. It might be difficult to lift and bend without straining your neck and back and causing pain. Pain medication will usually be prescribed.
Recovery differs between patients and surgeries. As a general guide the following are consistent with all cervical surgeries:
- Three to five days in hospital
- No heavy lifting for the first few weeks or so (and graduated lifting restrictions thereafter)
- Some time off work in order to recover
- You may need to return to work on restricted duties for a period of time
- You may not be able to drive for 4 to 6 weeks
- No swimming for 4 to 6 weeks
- Pain medication
- Rehabilitation depending on the surgery