Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement

What is Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement? 

An artificial cervical disc is a device inserted between two vertebrae in the neck in order to replace a damaged disc.  The intent of the artificial disc is to preserve motion at the disc space.  It is an alternative to the commonly performed anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF).

Artificial disc replacement (ADR) surgery—also known as a total disc arthroplasty or total disc replacement (TDR)—is typically performed for a patient with a cervical disc herniation that is causing significant neck pain and/or arm pain that has not responded to nonsurgical treatment options and is significantly affecting the individual's quality of life and ability to function.

What are some advantages to having an Artificial Disc Replacement versus having a Fusion? 

  • Better long term motion and flexibility
  • Reducing degeneration of adjacent segments of the cervical spine
  • Eliminating potential complications and issues associated with the need for a bone graft and the hardware used in ACDF surgery
  • Allowing early postoperative neck motion
  • Quicker recovery times following surgery

Are you a good candidate for Artificial Disc Replacement?

ADR surgery is most likely used to treat the following conditions:

  • Degenerative Disc Disease. Occurs when intervertebral discs (the soft, gel-like cushions between the vertebrae that absorb pressure and help keep the bones of the vertebrae from rubbing against each other) lose flexibility, elasticity, and shock absorbing characteristics.  The tough outside covering of the disc can become torn, and the soft center starts to dry out and shrink.
  • Post-Discectomy Syndrome: This problem sometimes occurs when pain continues following surgery to remove a herniated disc.
  • Traumatic injury of the vertebrae.

There are some conditions that may prevent the use of an artificial disc.  Some individuals that do not typically do well with ADR include people whose bones are not strong due to aging, osteoporosis, and other bone diseases.