The ending “-ectomy” always refers to removing something. A corpectomy is the removal of bones in the neck or cervical spine. Doctors may remove only one vertebra, but often more than one must be taken out.
Aging, trauma, and diseases such as arthritis cause damage to the discs and bone in the cervical spine. The bones can slip and put pressure on the spinal cord causing serious problems. When all other treatment has failed, removing the bone may be the next best step.