Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery
Cervical Disc Replacement surgery is a procedure to treat problems caused by herniated disc or compression of the spinal cord, by replacing the damaged disc with an artificial implant. It allows almost the same neck mobility as normal, and has advantages over the anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) method. Many published medical research papers have supported this assertion.
When to Have Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery?
Indicators of when one should consider cervical disc replacement surgery are:
- Symptoms of cervical myelopathy (compression of the spinal cord) – The patient feels weakness in the arms and hands, and/or legs, and/or inability to control normal urination and bowel movement.
- Symptoms of herniated disc – The patient feels constant weakness, pain or numbness in the arms and hands even after attempted normal treatments.
The Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery
The surgery requires 4 – 5 centimeters of incision in order to restrain the trachea and the esophagus, before the damaged cervical disc is removed through a microscope. The artificial disc is then secured into the vacated position. Every step of the procedure is guided via a fluoroscope x-ray imaging monitor, to ensure the precise location of the disc and to minimize any error as well as impact on the nearby nerves.
Advantages of Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery
Mobility of the cervical joint is almost the same as normal. It also lessens the deterioration rate of nearby discs as compared to ACDF.
Considerations About the Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery
- This procedure is suitable for treating symptoms resulted from a dislocated disc. But it may not be effective if the patient is also suffering from a facet joint condition, as the symptom may still remain.
- There may be some temporary side effects from this type of surgery – such as bruised esophagus or hoarse voice. These are similar to the effect of ACDF, and there is also a possibility of joint fusing after the surgery.
- Cervical disc replacement surgery should be performed only by an experienced spinal surgeon, using fluoroscope x-ray imaging equipment to ensure precision in every step of the procedure.