Patients are given a general anesthesia and preoperative intravenous antibiotics. They are then laid on their backs on a radiolucent operating table. A 3-to 8-centimeter incision is made in the abdomen and the abdominal muscles and intestines are moved aside.
The damaged intervertebral disc is removed by the neurosurgeon.
Special distractor instruments are used to restore the normal height of the disc space and to determine the appropriate size of bone graft. A cage filled with bone graft is carefully implanted in the empty disc space. This helps to realign the vertebrae and remove the pressure from pinched nerve roots. Fluoroscopic X-rays are taken to confirm the graft is in the right place.
Secure the Vertebrae
If additional support is required for the spine, surgeons may decide to attach a plate to the spine for support during the healing process. This will connect the above and below vertebrae. The surgeon may decide to perform the surgery in two stages. The second stabilization procedure is usually performed two days later from the back part of the spine with rods and screws
Ending the Procedure
Over time, the bone graft will grow through and around the implant. The wound area is washed out with sterile antibiotics. The procedure ends when the skin is sewn or glued together.