The indications for a cervical disc replacement are similar to those for a cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). A patient must have a symptomatic cervical disc, which may be causing arm pain, arm weakness or numbness, and/or some degree of neck pain. These symptoms may be due to a herniated disc and/or osteophytes (bone spurs) compressing adjacent nerves or the spinal cord. This condition most commonly occurs at cervical spine levels C4-C5, C5-C6, or C6-C7.
Learn more: Cervical Osteophytes: Bone Spurs in the Neck
Prior to being considered for a cervical disc replacement, the candidate must usually meet defined criteria, such as:
- Significant neck pain and/or pain, and possibly neurological symptoms, that radiates into the arm(s)
- At least 4 to 6 weeks of nonsurgical treatment, usually consisting of at least anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, or epidural injections
- No prior neck surgery (typically)
- Suitable general health for safe anesthesia
- Only one, or possibly two, levels of the neck affected
- Absence of all of the following:
It is important to note that most patients with symptoms from a herniated disc, degenerated disc, and/or arthritis in their neck do not need surgery. They typically can improve with nonsurgical treatment, such as anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, or cold/heat therapy. More than 90 percent of patients will experience pain relief with nonsurgical methods within 4 to 6 weeks.
In This Article:
- Artificial Disc for Cervical Disc Replacement
- Indications for an Artificial Cervical Disc
- Cervical Disc Pathology and Artificial Disc Surgery
- Considerations for a Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery
- Artificial Disc Vs. Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion
- Surgical Procedure for Cervical Disc Replacement
- Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery Video
For patients who do not experience sufficient pain relief or ability to function, surgery may be an option. For most of these patients, both anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and cervical artificial disc replacement are viable surgical options to consider.