This operation is performed for a disc prolapse in the neck. The disc is removed almost completely to allow access to the neural canal. The operation is not generally performed from the back as the spinal cord is sensitive and cannot be moved to allow access. Because the disc is removed, the surgeon will normally place a bone graft or cage between the vertebrae to maintain their position.
Success rate: the majority of patients will experience considerable improvement if the main symptom was of severe arm pain. Persistent weakness or numbness improves much less predictably.
Risks: The main concern is of paralysis, which can be due to postoperative bleeding causing compression of the spinal cord. The complication can occur in approximately 0.5% of cases.