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Herniated Cervical Disc Specialist

George Kakoulides, MD -  - Board Certified Neurosurgeon

George Kakoulides, MD

Board Certified Neurosurgeon located in West Islip, Huntington, Smithtown, NY, & Long Island, NY

A herniated cervical disc often improves with conservative treatment. But when your pain is severe or you develop serious nerve symptoms, you may need surgery to repair the problem. George Kakoulides, MD, has extensive experience providing the full range of care for herniated cervical discs. Dr. Kakoulides offers medical care, recommends alternative treatments when appropriate, and has exceptional surgical skills that produce optimal results. To learn more about treatments for a herniated cervical disc, call one of the offices in West Islip, Huntington, and Smithtown, New York, or book an appointment online.

Herniated Cervical Disc

What is a herniated cervical disc?

Your cervical spine consists of the seven vertebrae that make up your neck. The discs between each cervical vertebra are made of a strong outer covering that encloses a gel-like center, a combination that gives them the ability to cushion spinal movement and absorb shock.

When the outer cover develops a weak spot, the inner gel herniates or pushes through that area, creating a bulge that compresses the spinal cord and nerve roots. In severe cases, the bulge ruptures, allowing the inner gel to leak into the spinal canal and irritate the surrounding nerves.

What causes a herniated cervical disc?

Herniated cervical discs most often develop over time. As you get older, the discs dehydrate and daily wear-and-tear gradually weakens the disc. Though it’s not as common, you can also end up with a herniated cervical disc due to an accident or injury.

What symptoms develop due to a herniated cervical disc?

When a herniated disc compresses a nerve root, you experience symptoms such as neck pain and pain that radiates into your shoulder and arm. You may also develop tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness in your arm.

If the herniated disc presses against the spinal cord, you have a different group of symptoms called cervical myelopathy. Cervical myelopathy makes it hard to use your hands for fine motor tasks such as writing. You may also develop difficulty walking and find that you often trip or fall.

How is a herniated cervical disc treated?

If your symptoms and physical examination suggest a herniated disc, Dr. Kakoulides performs diagnostic tests such as an MRI or CT scan to confirm your diagnosis. 

Dr. Kakoulides recommends conservative therapies as the first line of treatment. Your treatment plan may include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, or alternative options such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, or an epidural injection.

If your pain is severe, it doesn’t respond to conservative treatment, or you have weakness or myelopathic symptoms, Dr. Kakoulides talks with you about surgery to repair the problem. 

He has years of experience successfully performing several types of surgery to treat a herniated cervical disc, including:

  • Single and multilevel anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF)
  • Removal of a cervical vertebral body (corpectomy)
  • Cervical foraminotomy
  • Cervical discectomy

A corpectomy and foraminotomy decompress the nerve, while ACDF and discectomy procedures remove part or all of the damaged disc. Some patients are good candidates for an artificial disc to replace the herniated disc.

If you develop neck pain or other symptoms of a herniated cervical disc, call George Kakoulides, MD, or schedule an appointment online.