Cervical Disc Replacement

Cervical Disc Replacement Overview

Cervical disc replacement removes a diseased or damaged neck disc and replaces it with a new one. The procedure benefits many patients because it relieves pain and restores complete range of motion. Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates’ (CONA) spine specialists are cervical disc replacement experts.

How is cervical disc replacement performed?

A board-certified anesthesiologist administers general anesthesia so the patient is completely asleep and feels no discomfort. A CONA spine specialist:

  • Gently retracts muscles and soft tissues
  • Carefully removes the majority of the diseased or damaged disc *The disc’s outer wall is left intact
  • Inserts an artificial disc implant into the intervertebral space *The implant rests against the disc wall
  • Closes tissue layers and skin
  • Applies a sterile dressing to the surgical site

A soft collar is placed on the neck to immobilize and protect it. Total procedure time is 1 ½ – 2 hours.

What conditions can cervical disc replacement treat?

Cervical disc replacement may be recommended to treat:

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis

Cervical disc replacement only treats one vertebral level. Multi-level disc damage may require a spinal fusion procedure.

What are cervical disc replacement advantages?

Pain is dramatically reduced shortly after the procedure. Full range of motion is restored after a complete recovery is made.

What is cervical disc replacement recovery like?

Cervical disc replacement may be performed on an outpatient or inpatient basis. Physical therapy after surgery is an important part of recovery. Stretches and strengthening exercises are performed to regain neck range of motion. Specific recovery instructions are given to patients before surgery and at follow-up appointments.

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