When you have pain due to a damaged disc between one of the 7 bones of your neck, cervical artificial disc replacement is a minimally invasive alternative to fusion surgery. Feel confident about your decision to have the procedure by getting specific answers to some common questions from your surgeon. Use the following 5 questions as a guide.
1. What Makes Me a Good Candidate for This Procedure?
To receive cervical artificial disc replacement, you need to have tried other treatments for at least 6 weeks or more. The rest of your neck can’t be severely affected by degeneration because placing an artificial disc in a spine that is already weak in other locations won’t be effective. It’s not recommended for patients with underlying conditions like osteoporosis or spinal deformities.
2. How Invasive Is the Surgery?
Cervical artificial disc replacement is technically open surgery. It’s considered minimally invasive because the incisions made are only about an inch in length. There is also no need to put in a plate or excessively move other tissues. Patients usually go home within 24 hours after the surgery.
3. Will There Be Any Scarring from the Incisions?
The incisions needed to remove the damaged disc and insert the artificial one can often be made along a natural crease or parallel to the neck fold. As a result, patients often have minimal scarring.
4. Will My Neck Remain Stable?
The disc inserted during the surgery is specially made for the patient, which means it will be an exact fit for the space. Stability of the cervical spine is maintained by preserving as much of the bony surface of the affected vertebra (end plate) as possible. Doing so prevents the disc from sinking into the bone and retains the natural height of the neck.
5. What Are the Potential Risks?
Though cervical artificial disc replacement is less invasive than some surgical procedures, it still presents some inherent risks common with any type of spine surgery in Beverly Hills. These risks include unintended damage to nearby nerves, a reaction to the anesthesia, and the need for further surgery if symptoms aren’t sufficiently managed.
To learn more about artificial disc replacement and other types of spinal fusion alternatives, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. We can help diagnose your pain and determine the best plan of action for relieving it. Call 310-828-7757 today to schedule an in-person evaluation.