Cervical Endoscopic Nucleotomy - How Does It Work?

Posted Jan 17, 2017

by Dr. Sophie Chung

CEO & Founder

A common cause of neck pain is a herniated or ruptured cervical disc.

A disc herniation occurs when the outer ring of an intervertebral disc lets the central, softer portion to bulge out beyond the outer ring margins. This typically happens when the intervertebral disc is damaged or torn, and the main causes behind this involve aging or traumatic events. As a consequence, the nerve is pinched by the herniation causing pain, which may radiate from the neck down the arm to the hand or fingers, causing numbness or tingling in the shoulder or arm.

While many patients will notice improvements without treatment, those who still continue to have pain may consider different options, including surgical and nonsurgical treatments.

Nonsurgical treatments include rest, neck collar, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, or injection therapy. If nonsurgical treatments aren’t successful, another option to consider may be spine surgery. Spine surgery involves removing the portion of the disc that is pushing on the nerve.

While open spine surgery has been around for a while, other minimally invasive procedures - including cervical endoscopic nucleotomy - are paving their way on the medical field.

What is a Cervical Endoscopic Nucleotomy?

A cervical endoscopic nucleotomy is a surgery technique that aims at decompressing the cervical nerve roots or the spinal cord with a minimally invasive procedure.

How does the procedure work?

Cervical endoscopic nucleotomy involves removing the disc material that compresses the cervical nerve endoscopically with specialized forceps. The intervention can be carried out either under general anesthesia or under monitored anesthesia care. If you want to get a clearer picture of how this surgery technique works, have a look at this video.

What are the differences between this and the open surgery technique?

According to recent studies, clinical outcomes seem to be similar when comparing traditional spine open surgery with endoscopic surgery. Nevertheless, minimally invasive spine surgeries (MISS), such as the cervical endoscopic nucleotomy, seem to have a promising outlook thanks to increasing numbers of innovative procedures and techniques in this field.

Overall, the main advantages of a minimally invasive spine surgery comprehend:

  • Smaller incision

  • Less muscle tissue trauma

  • Minimal blood loss

  • Improved visibility

  • Shorter recovery time

  • Less postoperative pain

  • Lower infection rates

  • Less in-hospital days (it may be as well performed as an outpatient procedure)

Moreover, minimally invasive surgeries preserve the natural structure of the segment since these techniques do not require the herniated disc to be completely removed and subsequently replaced with a prosthesis and a cervical fusion.

In addition to its benefits, it is as well important to consider that this technique should be performed by highly specialized surgeons as it requires a greater learning curve. Your surgeon will assess whether cervical endoscopic nucleotomy is the right treatment for your specific case.

What are the results of a cervical endoscopic nucleotomy?

As already mentioned, cervical endoscopic surgery is relatively new so there are not enough studies that can assess long-term effectiveness of the procedure.

Taking a look at the data that is currently available, cervical endoscopic surgery has had positive results in terms of effectiveness and less postoperative care. These results will need to be reassessed in the long run to prove itself as a solid and valid alternative to open spine surgery.

Is cervical endoscopic nucleotomy right for me?

The best thing to do to assess whether cervical endoscopic nucleotomy is the right treatment for you is talking to your doctor or surgeon. Depending on your anatomy and pathology, a specialist will be able to create a detailed and personalized diagnosis and to assess what option best suits your medical needs.

Where is cervical endoscopic nucleotomy performed?

There are 6 hospitals worldwide where this particular technique is performed. We partner with one of these clinics, KCM Clinic in Jelenia Gora, Poland, where their first cervical endoscopic nucleotomy was successfully performed on December 10 2016.

About KCM Clinic

KCM Clinic is a multi- disciplinary facility that offers a variety of procedures, ranging from diagnostics and gynecology to ophthalmology and weight loss. The clinic is ISO-certified and is actively involved in a scientific exchange with specialists at Sanford Health in the USA and Germany. KCM Clinic’s 100+ medical staff and 60 doctors work tirelessly to provide the highest level of specialization in their own field of expertise.

If you are interested in a cervical endoscopic nucleotomy or any other treatment, contact us! We partner with a large number of internationally accredited and highly- specialized clinics worldwide. Our Health Managers will be happy to discuss your options and prepare your medical travel with you!


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