What Is A Corpectomy?
Many spinal problems are due to degenerative changes that occur in the discs and joints. This is simply a natural part of aging due to the affects of daily wear and tear on the parts of your spine.
Problems can persist when these degenerative changes lead to a serious condition such as spinal stenosis, where pressure is put on your spinal cord. This pressure can be relieved with a procedure called a corpectomy.
A Procedure That Relieves The Pressure
During a corpectomy, one of several vertebral bodies are removed to take the painful pressure off your spinal cord, thereby decompressing the nerves, as well.
When the degenerative vertebrae are replaced with a bone graft, the procedure is called a corpectomy and strut graft. Because the bodies of one or more vertebrae are taken out, a bone graft is inserted to fill the space. As the bone graft heals, it fuses to the vertebrae directly above and below it. The bone graft provides structural support to the spine and holds the remaining vertebrae apart. As it heals, the vertebrae grow together and “fuse.”
While a corpectomy procedure can be performed on any part of the spine: your cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (mid back), or lumbar spine (low back), the approach to surgery your surgeon chooses will depend on the part of your spine that requires surgery.
What To Expect After A Corpectomy
- Most patients require a neck brace after surgery, while others may require the added support of a halo brace.
- While most patients do not require rehabilitation after this surgery, some patients may benefit from a short period of rehabilitation in order to return to their daily routines.
- Once the fusion is healed, you may consult your physical therapist and progress toward a more rigorous rehabilitation program.