A cervical artificial disc replaces an intervertebral disc damaged by neck disorders, such as degenerative disc disease or disc herniation. Cervical disc replacement surgery is an alternative to spinal fusion.
Spinal fusion permanently joins two vertebral bodies and eliminates movement at that level. An artificial disc allows movement by mimicking the properties of the human intervertebral disc. Disc replacement protects other discs by sharing the stress during movement and stabilizes the cervical spine.
Most patients with a cervical problem don't need spine surgery, such as fusion and instrumentation. Your doctor may recommend cervical spine surgery if:
- Nonsurgical treatments like medication, spinal injections and physical therapy don't help your pain and other symptoms
- Your neurological symptoms like numbness, tingling and weakness are progressive, worsen and involve the arms and/or legs
- You experience problems with balance and have trouble walking
- Your general health is good