Cervical discs act as cushions between the vertebrae in your neck—the cervical spine. When these discs become damaged, it can lead to serious pain due to increased pressure on the central spinal cord or compression of the spinal nerves. To relieve this pain and correct the problem, a cervical disc replacement may be necessary.
About the Procedure
Cervical disc replacement is a surgical procedure that involves removing the degenerated or damaged cervical disc and replacing it with an artificial one. This type of surgery is usually only performed when other treatments like physical therapy and medications fail to control the condition over a period of at least 6 to 12 weeks. One of the most common surgical treatments for disc herniation or degenerative disc disease is anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). While this treatment is highly effective, a cervical disc replacement may offer faster healing times, fewer complications, and better range of motion in the neck.
When a surgeon performs a cervical disc replacement, he generally makes an incision in the front of the neck to access the cervical spine. The surgeon will remove the damaged disc as well as any associated bone spurs, thus relieving pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves. Once the disc is removed, the surgeon will insert and attach the replacement disc before closing the incision. This procedure has more recently become known as a total disc arthroplasty.
Risks and Benefits
The main benefit of a cervical disc replacement is relief from pain in the neck, shoulders, and arms associated with a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease. Some of the benefits associated with this procedure over the more common anterior cervical discectomy and fusion include reduced recovery time, lower impact on other discs, and improved range of motion after recovery. During recovery, the patient may be required to wear a brace to immobilize the neck for up to a week. This is low, compared to the four to six weeks of immobilization recommended after anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery.
The risks associated with cervical disc replacement are similar to those of ACDF. Damage to the spinal nerves is rare in either case, but it can be very serious. Bleeding is generally fairly limited with cervical disc replacement, and the risk of infection is low as well. There is the potential for technical difficulties when placing the replacement disc, and complications resulting from improper placement are possible, though uncommon.
What to Expect from Jersey Spine Associates
At Jersey Spine Associates, we use the most modern technology and procedures for each and every case, and also have one of the highest surgical success rates in the area. You can count on Dr. Ponnappan to perform your cervical disc replacement with expert precision, leaving you pain-free, and with a reduced recovery time compared to other surgical procedures. If you want to learn more about cervical disc replacement from Jersey Spine Associates, simply visit our website or call today to schedule your consultation.