Advantages of Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery

An artificial disc replacement in the neck replaces a diseased or damaged disc with a specialized implant that tries to preserve motion. This procedure is called an Artificial Cervical Disc Replacement, or ACDR.

The intent of the artificial disc is to preserve motion at the disc space. It is an alternative to the commonly performed anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF); a surgical procedure that is designed to address the pathology by eliminating motion at the diseased disc level.

Artificial Cervical Disc Replacement cannot treat spinal instability. It may be performed to treat the following conditions: degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, disc herniation or radiculopathy.

This surgery is done under general anesthesia. During the surgery, the patient lies face up on a special surgical bed. The procedure is performed through a small incision on the front of the neck to gain access to the spine, usually in the neck’s natural crease. The trachea (windpipe), esophagus (stomach tube), and blood vessels lie in front of the spine and are carefully moved aside.

Once Dr. Theofilos safely creates a window to see the spine, the damaged disc is removed with surgical tools. This part of the surgery is called a discectomy. The surfaces of the vertebral bodies are prepared to accept the implant. The bones are slightly spread apart to make more room for the disc replacement. This realigns the proper curvature and enlarges the openings where the nerves exit to relieve pressure off any pinched nerves. The artificial disc is inserted into the space between the vertebrae and carefully secured into place.

The advantages of the artificial cervical disc compared with a fusion include: maintaining normal neck motion; reducing degeneration of adjacent segments of the cervical spine; eliminating potential complications and issues associated with the need for a bone graft and the hardware used in ACDF surgery; and allowing early postoperative neck motion.

The most common symptoms treated by the cervical disc replacement procedure include: neck pain and/or stiffness; headaches; radiating pain in shoulder and arm; muscle weakness in shoulder, arm and/or hand; or tingling or numbness in your arm or fingers. Dr. Theofilos is a nationally recognized pioneer in artificial disc replacement. Please contact our office if you would like to find out more information regarding this or other types of surgery.

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