Why You Should Choose an Artificial Disc Over Cervical Fusion

Why You Should Choose an Artificial Disc Over Cervical Fusion

Why You Should Choose an Artificial Disc Over Cervical Fusion: The cervical spine is made up of seven bones called cervical vertebrae that are placed on top of each other to form the neck. The cervical disks are the cushions that sit between the vertebrae in the neck. They cushion trauma and allow your neck to move freely.

Your cervical spine also serves as a protective tunnel for the top portion of your spinal cord. This section of your spinal cord houses the spinal nerves that supply sensation and movement to your upper body. We can discuss more about Why You Should Choose an Artificial Disc Over Cervical Fusion.


When the space between your vertebrae narrows, a portion of your vertebrae or your cervical disk might push on your spinal cord or spinal nerves, producing discomfort, numbness, or paralysis. When nonsurgical treatments fail to relieve these symptoms, disk surgery may be suggested. We can discuss more about Why You Should Choose an Artificial Disc Over Cervical Fusion.

A damaged cervical disk is removed and replaced with an artificial disk during cervical disk replacement surgery. Prior to the availability of this treatment, the problematic disk was removed and the vertebrae above and below were fused together to prevent mobility.

A novel form of therapy that has just been approved by the FDA is the use of an artificial disk to replace your natural cervical disk. Disk replacement surgery may allow for more flexibility and less stress on your remaining vertebrae than typical. We can discuss more about Why You Should Choose an Artificial Disc Over Cervical Fusion. We can discuss more about Why You Should Choose an Artificial Disc Over Cervical Fusion.

Why is cervical disk replacement surgery needed?

Loss of space between your cervical vertebrae is frequent due to cervical disk degeneration or wear and strain. Cervical disks begin to compress and bulge with age; most people experience this by the age of 60. However, doctors are baffled as to why some patients have more symptoms of cervical disk degeneration than others.

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What are the risks of cervical disk replacement surgery?

While all surgeries have some risk, disk replacement surgery is a largely risk-free treatment. Before having surgery, you must sign a permission document that discusses the risks and advantages of the procedure.

Because disk replacement is a novel type of spine surgery, there is limited data on potential long-term dangers and results. Discuss the risks and advantages of disk replacement surgery with your surgeon in comparison to other forms of cervical spine surgery. We can discuss more about Why You Should Choose an Artificial Disc Over Cervical Fusion.

Some potential risks of cervical spine surgery include:

  • Reactions to the anesthesia
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Nerve injury
  • Spinal fluid leak
  • Voice change
  • Stroke
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Failure to relieve symptoms
  • Broken or loosened artificial disk
  • Need for further surgery

Other dangers may exist, depending on your unique medical condition. Before the operation, make sure to share any concerns you have with your surgeon. We can discuss more about Why You Should Choose an Artificial Disc Over Cervical Fusion.

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How do I get ready for cervical disk replacement surgery?

Inquire with your doctor about what you should do before your procedure. The following are some frequent actions you may be requested to take. We can discuss more about Why You Should Choose an Artificial Disc Over Cervical Fusion.

  • Inform your surgeon about any home remedies you use, including herbal supplements and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals. You may be instructed to cease using aspirin or other blood-thinning drugs that may cause bleeding.
  • Inform your surgeon if you or anyone in your family has ever had a response to general anesthesia.
  • If you smoke, you may be requested to stop smoking well before surgery and to refrain from smoking for a period of time thereafter.
  • You will most likely be given advice on when to cease eating and drinking bathe ore operation. It’s usual to not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
  • On the day of the surgery, ask your surgeon if you should take your normal prescriptions with a little sip of water.

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What happens during cervical disk replacement surgery?

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An intravenous (IV) line will be established shortly before the surgery begins so that you can receive fluids and drugs to relax and sleep. This surgery is often performed under general anesthesia (you are asleep). Medication may be administered by IV to induce sleep, and a tube may be implanted in your throat to protect your airway and supplement your breathing. The operation itself might take many hours. Once the procedure begins, the following may occur:

  1. Monitors are installed to measure your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen level.
  2. A specific solution is used to eliminate bacteria on the skin in the area of your neck where the incision will be made.
  3. On the side or front of your neck, a one- to two-inch incision (surgical cut) is made.
  4. The critical parts of the neck are carefully shifted to the side so that the surgeon can examine the vertebrae and cervical disk.
  5. The cervical disk being replaced is extracted.
  6. The fake disk is inserted into the available disk space.
  7. Under the epidermis, absorbable sutures (stitches) are used to seal the wound. The skin is then meticulously stitched using stitches to reduce scars.
  8. A tiny dressing is placed over the incision, and you will be brought to the recovery area. A hard or soft neck collar may be placed on your neck to restrict motion. Some steps might be slightly different from those outlined above. Talk with your healthcare provider about what might happen during your procedure.

What happens after cervical disk replacement surgery?

You will be monitored in the recovery area until you recover from anesthesia. Pain is usual following disk replacement surgery, and you may be given pain medicine in the recovery area.

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Most people will need to stay in the hospital for a day or two. During your hospital stay, the following may occur: We can discuss more about Why You Should Choose an Artificial Disc Over Cervical Fusion.

• Intravenous fluids may be maintained until you can drink fluids properly by mouth; if you can drink regularly, you can resume your normal diet.

• You will continue to take pain medication as needed.

• Your nurses will examine your dressing and assist you in getting out of bed and to the restroom.

 • You may be given a support collar to wear while in the hospital. • You will be urged to get out of bed and walk around as soon as you are able.

  • Each person’s recovery and rehabilitation at home will be unique, but here’s what you can expect in general:
  • You may still need to use a soft or firm neck support.
  • You will be able to resume your regular diet.
  • You may need to see your surgeon again to get stitches removed.
  • You will eventually resume your routine activities. You should discuss any activity limits with your surgeon, as well as when you may take a regular shower or bath.
  • After a few weeks, you may begin physical therapy.
  • You should be able to resume normal activities within 4 to 6 weeks.

You should call your surgeon if you have any of these problems:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Bleeding, redness, swelling, or discharge from your incision site
  • Pain that does not respond to pain medication
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Voice change or hoarseness
  • Difficulty breathing

Other directions regarding what to do following your operation may be given to you by your health care team. There are numerous compelling reasons to prefer an artificial disc to a regular Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion, or ACDF. Let us first consider the best outcome for a typical anterior discectomy and fusion. 

Your cervical disc has been affected, according to the surgeon. The disc can be injured by either normal aging or a substantial trauma. As a result of this injury, the disc loses height, and the typical holes through which the nerves escape the spinal cord begin to shut, squeezing these nerves and producing pain. This is known as foraminal stenosis.

Another problem is caused by a sudden rupture of the outer surface of the disc or annulus. When a disc ruptures, the soft jelly-like material within the disc is ejected or herniates. This ejected material can occasionally push on a nerve and cause discomfort.

A typical Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) requires the surgeon to utilize plates, screws, and an interbody spacer to realign the cervical spine. This spacer takes the place of the targeted disc.

The spacer can be made up of two main materials:

  • Polyetheretherkeytone (PEEK)
  • Titanium

The spacer is utilized to maintain natural disc height, which maintains the foramen open and restores the usual pathway for spinal neurons to go to the rest of the body.

Following the installation of the spacer, the plate is screwed to the spine. The titanium plate and screws serve just to retain the spine in this new position, enabling the body to develop bone and form a fusion mass at the level that would permanently fuse the spine.

The problem with this technique is that it reduces neck flexibility. It also transfers the forces that would ordinarily be handled by the fused level to the higher or lower level of the spine. This transfer of pressures frequently results in a problem in fused patients. More fusion surgery will be required for these individuals to correct the new level. Adjacent Level Disc Disease is an inevitable side effect of a typical anterior cervical discectomy and fusion operation.

When comparing the regular ACDF technique to an artificial disc operation, the benefits are immediately apparent. When patients choose an artificial disc instead of an anterior discectomy and fusion treatment, they retain their neck flexibility due to the design of the artificial disc.

The artificial disc is made up of three components. The top and bottom plates, as well as the spacer between them. The spacer is comprised of polyetheretheretherkeytone (PEEK). It is intended to provide nearly complete range of motion between the top and lower plates. This implies that the patient does not lose mobility, and there is no adjacent level disc disease since the spine preserves its natural movement.

Why You Should Choose an Artificial Disc Over Cervical Fusion
Why You Should Choose an Artificial Disc Over Cervical Fusion

The method for inserting the artificial disc is simple. The disc material is still removed, but rather than inserting a spacer and fastening the region with a plate and screws, the artificial disc is inserted in one piece and is press fit into the gap, eliminating the need for a plate or screws. In fact, recent research indicates that the artificial disc is far superior to conventional fusion.

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