Cervical Endoscopic Surgery

Endoscopic surgery, at a glance

Interview with Doctor R. Morgenstern

In Catalan

Endoscopic spine surgery is done:

> Under local anesthesia
> With a skin incission of only 5 mm length
> Significantly less invasive than open spine surgery (also known as microsurgery and micro-discectomy)
> Pain relief is immediate or within a few hours after srugery.
> Allows the patient to return home within 24 hours after the operation.

Endoscopic spine surgery allows the treatment of

> Cervical disc herniations
> Cervical discal protusions
> Cervical disc impingement
> Foraminal stenosis
> Central canal stenosis
> Neck pain
> Pain radiating to the shoulder/arm/hand
> and many other cergvical pathologies

Minimally invasive surgery and the limitations of traditional surgery

In traditional cervical spine surgery (surgery of the neck), large skin incisions are necessary to expose the neck tissues and open up enough space for surgical instruments to fit. In order to reach the spinal chord and nerves that are being compromised, important structural components of the cervical spine such as the ligaments, the intervertebral disc or bone are removed during open surgery.  This can lead to instability of the cervical spine if it is not additionally stabilized with plates and screws. Therefore, in open surgery, the function and mobility of the neck can be impaired. The removal of soft tissue and bone may lead to further complications such as bleeding, wound healing problems and instability in the postoperative stage and may require additional surgeries.

Cervical endoscopy allows to perform neck surgery through only a minimal incission in the skin. The neck’s structures and soft tissues are accurately visualized with a video camera placed inside the endoscope. This allows using small instruments, which reduces the bleeding as important structures of the cervical spine are preserved without compromising its stability. This type of surgery is called “Endoscopic Surgery of the Cervical Spine”.

Advantages of Endoscopic Surgery of the Cervical Spine

Endoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgery as it does not requires to remove or “open” tissues in the neck. The patient’s post-operative recovery is much faster. Moreover, endoscopic surgery is performed under local anesthesia. The patient usually resumes walking a few hours and is discharged from hospital the morning after surgery. .

Post-operative pain is usually immediately significantly decreased. Hence, little and small dosage pain medication is recommended during the first week after surgery.

Endoscopic surgery consists of advanced technologies, like HD video, laser and radiofrequency ablation, etc. among other sophisticated technology to provide a safe, fast and effective, pain-relieving surgery to the patient.

Neck pain (cervicalgia) and pain in the shoulders, arms and fingers of the hands (brachialgia) can be effectively treated with endoscopic surgery. It is also indicated for patients in which for a long time, little or nothing could be done from a surgical point of view and were treated conservatively with little success.

Endoscopic spine surgery allows to effectively resolve neck pain problems caused by, e.g. a herniated cervical disc, with or without an impinged nerve, foraminal stenosis, myelopathy caused by a central canal stenosis and a disk protrusion causing intense neck pain, resotring a high quality of life to the patient.

Clinical Case Cervical Endoscopy

Images of a cervical endoscopic surgery

Cirugía Endoscópica Cervical

Dr. Rudolf Morgenstern and Dr. Christian Morgenstern performing a cervical endoscopy

Cirugía Endoscópica Cervical Dr. Morgenstern

Fluoroscopic intraoperative lateral image of cervical spine. Note the endoscopic forceps decompressing the intervertebral disc.

Cirugía Endoscópica Cervical

Postoperative skin picture of the surgical wound of only 3 mm length on a patient’s neck.

© Copyright – Morgenstern Institute of Spine, 2019.