The Artificial Cervical Disc Replacement Procedure
The artificial disc replacement is the preferred treatment after an anterior discectomy has been done in the neck. Our FDA limits its use to one level in the neck currently. The disc replacement maintains the motion at the involved level and maintains normal motion at the adjacent discs.
The idea is that the artificial disc will prevent the adjacent levels from moving too much and wearing out too fast. Both the fusion cage mentioned in anterior cervical discectomy and fusion and the artificial disc Directly removes the pathologic disc herniation and bone spurs pushing on the spinal cord and nerve roots causing the pain in the shoulder and arm. Both the fusion cage and the artificial disc distract the disc space causing a permanent indirect decompression of the nerve roots and the fusion cage eliminates motion and stops root irritation while the disc replacement maintains more normal motion of the disc space and the nerves calm down once the pressure is removed. Please see my attached review of artificial disc replacement in the neck for more information.