A corpectomy is a surgical procedure to remove a damaged vertebra from your spine to alleviate pressure on your spinal cord or nerves. It is very similar to a discectomy, but used in cases when the damage is more severe.

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X-ray of patient’s neck following anterior corpectomy

During a corpectomy, an incision is made in the front of the neck, and the surgeon performs a discectomy at both ends of the vertebra to be removed. The damaged vertebra is then removed, and a bone graft or an artificial cage is put in its place and fused with the surrounding bones. A corpectomy is sometimes used to treat multi-level spinal stenosis in which bone spurs compress the spinal canal. Corpectomy surgeries are more extensive than discectomies and carry greater risks, and are recommended only in the event of significant problems related to the spine.

Click here to see a corpectomy animation