Cervical Disc Herniation, Cervical Radiculopathy and Cervical Myelopathy

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What is cervical disc herniation?

When disc herniation leads to compression of an exiting nerve, this condition is referred to as radiculopathy.

Cervical disc herniation (disc bulging/ ruptured disc) is a common disorder of the spine that can lead to neck and/or arm pain. The herniated disc or displaced disc can compress a nerve exiting the spine (branch of the spinal cord), the spinal cord itself or both.

When disc herniation leads to compression of only an exiting nerve, this condition is referred to as radiculopathy. 

When disc herniation leads to compression of the spinal cord, this compression may lead to a group of symptoms referred to as myelopathy. 

Sometimes both the exiting nerves and spinal cord are affected, leading to a condition referred to as myeloradiculopathy.

Cervical disc herniation treatments

Washington University spinal neurosurgeons specialize in the treatment of acute and chronic disorders of the cervical spine. Whether rare or commonplace conditions are present, our fellowship-trained and board-certified surgeons have the expertise and experience to treat diseases of the cervical spine. They work with neurologists, physiatrists and pain specialists to develop treatments tailored specifically for each patient.

In most cases, the symptoms associated with cervical disc herniations can be treated nonoperatively. However, disc herniations that lead to loss or altered function, such as weakness or loss of sensation, may require surgical intervention. In these cases, our surgeons routinely perform simple and complex procedures on the cervical spine, including

  • Foraminotomy
  • Discectomy
  • Laminectomy
  • Fusion
  • Artificial disc replacement
  • Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)
  • Anterior cervical arthroplasty (artificial cervical disc)
  • Cervical disc replacement

Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) Guide

Access and download the ACDF guide to learn about what happens before, during, and after surgery that is performed on the neck to treat spinal conditions.