Anterior Cervical Disc Replacement

Anterior Cervical Disc Replacement

Anterior cervical disc replacement surgery is a procedure that is performed to address chronic neck pain that is caused by a herniated or degenerative disc in the cervical spine or neck. If nonsurgical treatments prove ineffective for relieving your pain, numbness, or muscle weakness from a damaged cervical disc, this surgical procedure may be recommended to you by your health-care provider. 

Similar to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery, an incision is made in the anterior (front) of the neck and the affected disc that is causing pain and discomfort is fully removed. Anterior cervical disc replacement differs by using an artificial disc to replace the damaged one as opposed to using a bone graft to fuse your vertebrae together. This procedure is relatively new in North America, but it is showing promising results for relieving the symptoms associated with chronic neck pain due to a herniated or degenerated cervical disc.

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How the surgery works

Anterior cervical disc replacement surgery is conducted while the patient is under general anesthesia, so you won’t feel any pain or discomfort as the procedure is being executed. You will be placed on your back on a standard operating table and the surgical area will be cleaned and sterilized. A horizontal incision measuring about 3-4 centimetres will be made just off the midline of your neck. Your surgeon will then gently separate tissues in a natural plane to reach the spine. X-rays will be used to confirm the correct spinal level. The surgeon will then completely remove the affected disc and also remove bone spurs to achieve a full decompression. The artificial disc is then sized correctly and inserted into the area left vacant between the two vertebrae. Its placement is confirmed using the X-ray. Once the replacement disc has been confirmed and secured, your surgeon will use sutures to close the wound. 

The incision is closed with dissolvable sutures and surgical tape (Steri-strips) will be placed. The incision will be covered with a small dressing.

Anterior cervical disc replacement surgery typically takes between 2-3 hours to be performed. 

Postoperative care

Following the surgery, you will be taken into a recovery room where your vitals are closely monitored as the effects of general anesthesia wear off. You will be discharged from the surgical centre the same day or the following morning. You will be provided with a set of postoperative instructions. You will be allowed to move your neck as comfort allows. You will also be restricted from carrying any objects which weigh over 5 lbs. for the first 2 to 4 weeks of your recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

The artificial disc incorporates an artificial nucleus (made from polycarbonate urethane) and a woven fibre annulus (made from polyethylene). The implant has two titanium outer plates with keels for anchoring the disc into the bone of the vertebral body.

Anterior cervical disc replacement surgery has been found to accomplish its goal of being a motion preservation procedure by providing its patients with a higher degree of range of motion when compared to those who have undergone anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery. It has also provided good or great results when it comes to reducing the nerve symptoms of a herniated or degenerated cervical disc, with pain, numbness, and muscle weakness sometimes drastically improving immediately after the procedure. At other times it may take a few weeks or months before these results are realized. As anterior cervical disc replacement surgery is still a relatively new procedure in North America, the long-term results of its efficacy are still undetermined. 

Most of our patients are able to return to work in a reduced capacity 1 to 2 weeks after the surgery. They can then resume their regular work or recreational activities after roughly six weeks of recovery.

Receive the care you need right away

Horizon Surgical can expedite your minimally invasive spine surgery to be done in a timely fashion. From beginning to end, you can typically receive your minimally invasive spine surgery within a couple months. With our reduced recovery times, you’ll be able to get back to living your life and doing what you love most right away.

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