Please note that a referral letter is required before an appointment can be confirmed.
About cervical artificial disc replacements
Artificial disc replacement is a procedure whereby damaged spinal discs, the discs that cushion the bones in your spine, are replaced with artificial discs. It can help some people with significant back pain to do simple activities again, by reducing their pain and improving their mobility. Cervical disc replacement replaces the discs in your neck.
Cause of disc degeneration
Your cervical vertebrae suffer from wear and tear and as we age, the discs can weaken and develop tears or cracks, while the inner part of the disc may bulge (disc degeneration). If the space between your vertebrae becomes too narrow, part of your vertebrae or your cervical disc can ‘pinch’ your spinal cord or spinal nerves, causing pain, numbness, or weakness.
If you have ongoing arm and neck pain, it may be worthwhile talking to your consultant to see whether an artificial disc replacement is right for you. When determining the appropriate treatment plan for your condition, your consultant will consider whether:
- Your pain originates from only one or two discs in the spine
- You have spinal instability
- You have any other spinal conditions, such as osteoporosis, arthritis, or infection
While you are under general anaesthesia, your consultant will make a small incision in the front of the neck to access the spine. They will then remove the worn or damaged disc along with any damaged bone or bone spurs compressing the spinal nerve. Once the area between the vertebrae is clean your consultant will shape the area where the disc used to be, to allow the replacement disc to be inserted and to ensure that it fits perfectly. The soft tissues of the neck are moved back into place and the incision is closed.
The device is designed to move with the spine in a way that restores range of motion so the patient can once again move normally and without pain.
Recovery times vary from patient to patient – your consultant will discuss this with you.
The risks of surgery are no greater than for any other surgery and depend on you, and your current health status. Your consultant will discuss the risks with you before surgery.