Many physicians are turning to cervical artificial disc replacement (CADR) in lieu of more traditional methods of correcting symptomatic vertebral problems. People who are living with the side effects of nerve compression resulting from bulging or herniated discs, bone spurs, or degenerative disc disease may be able to experience less pain after undergoing the innovative procedure.
Who Qualifies for the Procedure
Individuals who have pain and arm and hand weakness or numbness that has not responded to more conservative treatments may be candidates for CADR. The goal of surgery is to remove discs that are causing pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves that can result in serious complications.
How the Disc is Formed
Many different designs of artificial discs are on the market, and the type of disc that is used during the surgery depends on the patient’s anatomy and the physician’s preference. Some devices are made from a cobalt chromium alloy with a plastic spacer that allows natural motion. Other types use a ball and socket design with a titanium outer piece that surrounds a plastic core.
An incision will be made at the front of the neck in order to allow the spine surgeon to access the damaged vertebrae. Using a fluoroscope (x-ray) to better visualize the cervical spine, the physician will then remove the affected disc. Often, the surgeon will use a microscope to carefully check the area for any remaining materials that need to be removed. Finally, the new disc will be positioned in place and checked for stability.
Artificial discs generally leave patients with more natural cervical motion than what they would experience after having a more conventional operation. Bone grafts that use screws and plates often leave people with less range of motion due to the rigid nature of the correction.
Have other questions about artificial disc replacement or other non-fusion spinal surgeries? Call (310) 828-7757 and request an in-person consultation with Dr. Hyun Bae, a conservative spine surgeon that specializes in minimally invasive spine surgeries and is an expert in insurance claims for multi-level artificial disc replacement.