DAVE WATTS, MD
Cervical Disc Replacement
Cervical disc replacement is a surgical procedure which removes the damaged or diseased intervertebral discs in the neck region. The damaged disc is replaced with an artificial disc for restoring spine motion. This is a procedure considered alternate to the anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.
The patients with degenerative disc disease are usually advised cervical disc replacement. This medical condition is also called gradual degeneration of the disc between vertebrae, also caused because of aging.
In this medical procedure, an incision is made on the front side of the neck, adjacent to the damaged cervical disc’s level. The surgeon moves aside soft tissues and muscles to get a better view of the cervical spine. The surgeon opens the disc space and removes the damaged disc. Fluoroscopy ensures proper positioning of the implanted disc.
Disc nucleus replacement and total disc replacement are the two types of replacements used by the orthopedic.
In this procedure, only central portion of the disc is removed and replaced with an artificial mechanical disc. The outer ring of the disc is not removed. The disc nucleus replacement procedure is not practiced on a routinely basis. The artificial disc replacement for annulus and nucleus are replaced using a mechanical device. This helps restore the normal spinal function. The artificial discs are made up of plastic, metal or combination of both metal and plastic. Sometimes the doctors may opt for medical grade plastic or medical grade cobalt chromium or titanium alloy.
Patients do not need recovery time as there is no bone healing required. The early motion of the patient allows better rehabilitation and recovery. In some cases, the doctor may advice 2 to 4 days of stay. The patient may be asked to do basic exercises like regular walking and stretching to help facilitate the recovery.