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Cervical Disc Replacement – Overview

January 17, 2022


A cervical disc replacement is an alternative to an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion for selected patients. The goal of a disc replacement is to remove the pressure on the spinal cord and the nerve roots, and to preserve the motion of that segment without having to perform a fusion operation. Artificial discs are designed with the goal of mimicking the form and function of a spine’s natural disc. The most significant advantage of a cervical disc replacement compared to an ACDF is preservation of motion in the neck. This in turn eliminates additional demand from other discs in the neck, and it is thought to decrease the rate of disc degeneration. This in turn eliminates additional demands from the other healthy discs in the cervical spine, and is thought to reduce the risk of breakdown of other healthy discs down the line in the cervical spine. It’s important to remember that a disc replacement is not a motion creation operation. It’s a motion preservation operation. This means that a disc segment that was severely arthritic before surgery is unlikely to move much after a disc replacement procedure. As a matter of fact, for segments that are severely arthritic, it might actually be a better idea to perform a fusion operation rather than a disc replacement.

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