Discs are the spaces between our neck vertebrae that allow for motion, flexibility, and rotation. In discs become unhealthy , ours spines become more rigid and oftentimes more painful.
Disc replacement surgery is a modern way to remove arthritic and failed discs and replace them with engineered discs that mimic the motions of a healthy disc. The technique to replace an unhealthy disc is simple but requires experience with the technology and expertise with the approach.
A single or two level cervical disc replacement takes about 1-1.5 hours and is often an outpatient procedure. The surgery is done from the front of the neck working around the critical structures here. Once performed, you need to follow a short 2 week course of restrictions that will then gradually disappear. Pain medication is rarely needed after just a few days or a few weeks at the most for the majority of patients.
Cervical disc replacement is associated with less re-operations that cervical fusion and better clinical outcomes in many long term studies.
Many surgeons do not offer this technology and recommend fusion. It is imperative that you seek out a surgeon performing disc replacement before considering a fusion to see if it is an option for you.