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Cervical Spine Surgeries

At Mass General Brigham, our orthopedic spine surgery team has extensive experience in advanced surgical techniques and the latest minimally invasive treatments for injuries and ailments pertaining to the cervical spine.

Male provider performing standing exercise with male patient

Our cervical spine expertise

Cervical spine surgeons at Mass General Brigham provide a full spectrum of adult cervical, thoracic and lumbar procedures for the treatment of degenerative, inflammatory and cancerous conditions of the spine as well as for spinal trauma and post-traumatic deformity. Our spine surgeons also are experts in the management of revision spinal procedures. We are a distinguished center of excellence in the United States for cervical spine care.

Our cervical spine program brings together neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons and specialists in pain management, physiatry, neurology and rheumatology to provide multidisciplinary spine treatment.  Our goal is to alleviate pain and restore function in patients with spinal curvatures, traumatic spinal injuries and vertebral fractures, spinal instability due to infection or tumors, spondylolisthesis and congenital disorders of the spine.

Our cervical spine experts will work with you to evaluate your specific condition, your goals and our treatment options to determine a care plan that  maximizes your outcomes and recovery. We are a renowned destination surgical center for cervical decompression, cervical fusion, and complex spinal reconstruction.

Cervical spine surgeries

Spinal cervical decompression is a surgical procedure that is performed to alleviate pain caused by pinched nerves in the cervical area of the spine. During decompression surgery, a small portion of the bone over the nerve root and/or disc material from under the nerve root is removed to give the root more space and provide a better healing environment. Common cervical spinal decompression techniques include laminectomy and microdiscectomy. 


In a laminectomy, your surgeon removes a portion of the vertebral bone called the lamina to take pressure off the nerve roots and spinal cord. Laminectomies are often performed to make more room for the spinal nerve and spinal cord when treating spinal stenosis.


In a microdiscectomy, disc material under the nerve root is removed with the assistance of a microscope. Microdiscectomies, which are typically performed for a herniated lumbar disc, have been shown to be effective for treating radiculopathy (leg pain). While it may take weeks or months for the nerve root to fully heal and symptoms like numbness or weakness to improve, patients normally feel relief from leg pain almost immediately after surgery.

The goal of cervical spinal fusion surgery is to limit pain and increase spine stability. During the surgery, adjacent vertebrae are fused by bone grafts and metal devices secured by screws.

Depending on your condition, your surgeon may recommend cervical fusion between multiple levels. Cervical spinal fusion may result in some loss of flexibility in the spine and requires a longer recovery period to allow bone grafts to grow and fuse the vertebrae together. The surgery involves a short stay in the hospital and a gradual recovery.

Complex spinal reconstructive surgery may be necessary for patients with scoliosis or other spinal deformities. Reconstruction is typically an option when the spinal curvature or deformity is severe and nonsurgical methods are not successful. Your Mass General Brigham surgeon may consider several different approaches to spinal reconstructive surgery. However, all approaches are performed to fix the curvature of the spine, usually via the implantation of screws and rods for spine stabilization. 

Spinal reconstruction is a complex surgery, and recovery time may be longer than with other types of spine surgeries. Mass General Brigham neurosurgeons will work with nurses, physical therapists and occupational therapists to ensure you have a smooth and successful recovery during your stay in the Boston area and when you return home.

A team of spine experts behind you

Meet Mass General Brigham's multidisciplinary team of spine experts.

Cervical spine surgery for international patients 

Each year, thousands of patients from more than 120 countries travel to Mass General Brigham for medical care, second opinions and treatments unavailable anywhere else in the world.  

Mass General Brigham spine teams are experienced in caring for complex cervical spine surgery patients who are traveling great distances to our hospitals in Boston. Your medical team here and our international patient services team will help you prepare for and plan the appropriate amount of time to stay in Boston before and after your treatment or surgery. During this recovery time in Boston, our clinical team will monitor your healing and medications and prepare you for the rehabilitation stage of your care. Your Mass General Brigham care team will work with you and your providers at home to ensure you receive the properly scheduled follow-up appointments and a rehab physical therapy program that is right for you.

Many of our international patients have questions about everything from travel and lodging to scheduling appointments. Our international patient services team is here to help. We look forward to making your Mass General Brigham experience as healing and stress-free as possible.

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