Cervical disc replacements are now being considered as an alternative to cervical fusion.
This procedure replaces a diseased or damaged spinal disc with a specialised implant designed to preserve the motion in the neck. The procedure can relieve the pain of pinched nerves in the cervical spine.
Before the Procedure
- You will undergo a full medical examination, including MRIs and X-rays
- You may be asked to have a neurological or psychological examination
- If taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications daily, stop taking these at least one week before surgery.
- If you take prescription medications, or other drugs, ask your doctor how soon before surgery you should stop taking these
- Prior to the surgery you will be asked to sign permissions for surgery, anaesthesia, blood and blood products.
During the Procedure
- The surgeon will create a small incision in the front of the neck to gain access to the spine.
- The diseased disc is removed from between the vertebral bodies
- The surfaces of the vertebral bodies are cleared of all damaged disc tissue and shaped to accept the implant.
- The artificial disc is inserted into the space between the vertebrae and carefully secured into place with specialised screws. The implant is designed to preserve spinal motion and keep the cervical spine properly aligned.
For a full animation of the procedure, click here
After the Procedure
- You will be in the recovery room for 1 to 11/2 hours
- When you are transferred to your room you will be given a PCA pump to manage your pain medication.
- Most patients will experience some difficulty swallowing after surgery. This is completely normal and improves with time.
- You will be encouraged to get out of bed shortly after surgery and you will normally be discharged from hospital within 2 days.
- You will be discharged with sufficient pain medication
- You will be able to ride in a car upon leaving hospital.