Over time, discs can become dried out, compressed or otherwise damaged, due to age, genetics and everyday wear-and-tear. When this happens, the nucleus pulposus may push through the annulus fibrosis. Disc degeneration also may result in bone spurs, also called osteophytes. If disc or bone material pushes into or impinges on a nearby nerve root and/or the spinal cord, it may result in pain, numbness, weakness, muscle spasms and loss of coordination, both at the site of the damage and elsewhere in the body, since most the nerves for rest of the body (., arms, chest, abdomen and legs) pass from the brain through the neck. Similar symptoms, however, may occur suddenly if the disc nucleus dislodges acutely and causes nerve root compression, a condition referred to as a herniated disc.
There is also a chance of developing symptoms at of the disc levels either above or below the fused vertebrae, termed Adjacent Segment Disease (ASD). It has been estimated that about ¼ of patients will have symptoms from problems at an adjacent disc by 10 years after surgery. It is still unknown whether having a fusion surgery, with the resulting loss of motion between the vertebrae, contributes to the faster disc degeneration above and below the fusion. Alternatively, the same factors that caused the problems at the disc(s) that required surgery may have ultimately impacted the other discs as well. More research is needed to fully understand all of the risk factors involved so that this can better be prevented in the future.
A cervical biopsy may be done when abnormalities are found during a pelvic exam. It may also be done if abnormal cells are found during a Pap test. A positive test for human papillomavirus (HPV) may also call for cervical biopsy. HPV is a type of sexually transmitted infection. Certain types of HPV can cause cervical cancer and other less common types of genital cancers. A cervical biopsy is often done as part of a colposcopy, also called a colposcopy-guided cervical biopsy. A colposcopy uses an instrument with a special lens to look at the cervical tissues.