Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement
Cervical artificial disc replacement (ADR) provides an alternative solution to an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) when treating damaged or herniated discs in the cervical spine. This procedure has been developed to maintain motion and decrease stress on the surrounding and adjacent discs. Also known as total disc arthroplasty, ADR is an approved option for surgically treating cervical disc disease and a herniated disc in the neck. The cervical disc function like shock absorbers or cushions between bones (vertebra) in our neck (cervical spine). The disc of our neck can become worn and damaged either from degeneration or trauma, like whiplash, from a car wreck. If part of the disc is dislodged from its normal position it causing a herniated or bulging disc that compresses the spinal cord or nerve roots causing discomfort, and pain in the neck, arms, and hands. Left untreated, the bulging disc can cause the body to form bone spurs called osteophytes, which can further compress the spinal cord or exiting nerves, causing greater pain. Furthermore, the compression on the spinal cord by a herniated disc can cause neurologic symptoms such as pain, numbness or weakness that radiates through the neck into one or both arms and hands.
A cervical artificial disc replacement is an excellent spine fusion-sparing option to remove the painful osteophytes and herniated disc material compressing the spinal cord. The ADR surgery removes the damaged disc and replaces it with an implant that mimics the flexible joint and maintains movement instead of fusing two bones like an ACDF surgery. The metal implant is made of two metallic pieces that adhere to the vertebral bodies and contains a medical-grade plastic ball center that allows for movement.
The specific advantages of the artificial disc replacement are to maintain the motion, maximize function, and minimize the long-term risks to the discs above and below this level.
- Fusion Sparing Surgery
- Natural Motion Preservation of the Neck
- Reduces Stress on Adjacent Spinal discs and the Likelihood for Additional Future Surgery
- 90% Success Rate in Alleviating Pain
- Reduced Blood Loss
- Minimal Incision and Scarring
- Faster Return to Work Than Patients Who Recieve an ACDF Spine Fusion Surgery
What Are the Indications For Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement?
- Significant Neck Pain That Radiates Into The Arms
- At Least 6 Weeks Of Nonsurgical Treatment
- Only One Or Two Levels Of The Neck Affected
- Suitable General Health for Safe Anesthesia
How Is The Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement Performed?
The surgeon makes a 3 cm incision in the front of the neck and approaches the vertebral bones of the cervical spine. Damaged disc and any bone spurs pressing on the spinal cord or nerves are decompressed and removed. Next, the vertebral body surfaces are prepared, and the implant is inserted into the disc space. The procedure and device allow Dr. Rodriguez to remove the pain-generating disc, taking the pressure off the spinal cord and the nerves while preserving the natural motion of your neck.
What Is The Recovery After Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement?
Generally, patients are kept overnight for observation and pain control with medicine in their veins. However, one could go home the same day if they recovered from anesthesia, and their pain is controlled with pain pills. Most patients will wear a soft collar for two weeks. Patients may return to light-duty work as early as two weeks (if necessary). Dr. Rodriguez typically recommends that patients return to light-duty jobs by six weeks and heavy lifting positions by 3-6 months.
What Are The Risks of Cervical Artificial Disk Replacement?
The cervical artificial disc replacement surgery, like any other surgical procedure, has particular potential risks and complications associated with it. Dr. Rodriguez will discuss all potential risks of surgery and answers all of your concerns before any decision to move forward with surgery.
Risks and complications that are possible with cervical artificial disc replacement surgery are minimal and include but are not limited to:
- Post-Surgical Infection
- Swallowing Problems
- Nerve Damage
Dr. Rodriguez uses nerve monitoring during surgery to minimize risks to the spinal cord, vocal cords, and nerves.