Most episodes of arm pain due to a cervical herniated disc will resolve over a period of weeks to a couple of months. However, if the pain lasts longer than 6 to 12 weeks, or if the pain and disability are severe, spine surgery may be a reasonable option.
Spine surgery for a cervical herniated disc is generally reliable. The success rate is about 95 to 98% in terms of providing relief of arm pain.
With an experienced spine surgeon, the surgery should carry a low risk of failure or complication, and can be done with a minimal amount of postoperative pain and morbidity (unwanted aftereffects).
The surgery for a cervical herniated disc can be done a number of different ways:
Anterior cervical discectomy and spine fusion (ACDF)
Posterior cervical discectomy
Cervical artificial disc replacement
Although any major surgery has possible risks and complications, with an experienced spine surgeon serious complications from cervical disc surgery should be rare. The two most common surgeries, ACDF and artificial disc, are both considered reliable surgeries with favorable outcomes in terms of reducing the patients pain.
In This Article:
- Cervical Herniated Disc Symptoms and Treatment Options
- Diagnostic Tests for a Cervical Herniated Disc
- Conservative Treatment for a Cervical Herniated Disc
- Spine Surgery for a Cervical Herniated Disc
- Cervical Herniated Disc Video
Postoperative Care for Cervical Herniated Disc Surgery
For anterior surgery, such as an ACDF and artificial disc, there usually is not a great deal of postoperative pain. The surgery is done through a small incision in the front of the neck, and the spine can be accessed in between tissue planes that do not require cutting. This type of surgery usually can be done either outpatient (going home the same day as surgery) or with one overnight stay in the hospital.
The pain in the arm usually goes away fairly quickly, although it may take weeks to months for the arm weakness and numbness to subside. It is not uncommon to have some neck pain for a while.
Postoperatively, most spine surgeons prescribe a neck brace, although the type of brace and length of usage is variable. Also, most spine surgeons will ask their patients to limit their activities postoperatively, although the amount of restrictions and the length of time tend to vary. Ask your spine surgeon before the surgery what his or her usual protocol is regarding postoperative care.
- Looking to relieve your pain? Find a doctor in your area today