New Minimally Invasive Solution: The Artificial Cervical (Neck) Disc

This month, our very own Dr. Sharma will become one of the first neurosurgeons in Northern and Central Virginia to treat patients with a new type of artificial cervical disc approved for use in the neck region. This disc is the first and only artificial disc to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the cervical spine. The disc is made from stainless-steel with a ball-in-trough design held in place with bone screws, and is used to treat patients who suffer from degenerative disc disease as an alternative to spinal fusion surgery.

 

The most common method of treating degenerative disc disorders up to this point has been through cervical discectomies and fusion surgeries as a way to relieve compression pains on the spine and neck.  While we have discussed the benefits of these procedures in the past, artificial disc surgery presents better recovery opportunities for the patient.

“According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the goals of artificial cervical disc surgery are to:

 

1)    Remove the diseased disc;

2)    Restore normal disc height;

3)    Decrease discogenic neck pain and associated arm pain/weakness;

4)    Preserve motion in the affected vertebral segment;

5)    Improve patient function.”

 

The improved mobility and relieved tension on the surrounding discs are just a few of the benefits of artificial cervical disc surgery over fusion surgery. There is, however, certain criteria required to be considered for this procedure which include, but may not be limited to:

 

  •  Having disc degeneration in only one disc in the cervical spine.
  •   A consecutive six months of non-surgical treatment, such as physical therapy, pain medication, or neck bracing, with no signs of progressive improvement.
  •  Overall good health with no signs of infection, osteoporosis, arthritis, or osteomalacia or metal allergies.

 

The procedure is performed with the patient under general anesthesia, with the surgeon making a small incision in the front of the neck, where the affected disc is removed and replaced with the artificial disk. Average postoperative in-patient time is about 24 to 48 hours. Just like any other procedure, there are risks involved with artificial cervical disc surgery, so it is important you to speak your physician about any questions or concerns. To find out more information about new technologies at Virginia Spine Specialist, subscribe to our blog!

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