Guide to Advanced Surgery for The Spine
If your condition has not improved following non-surgical treatment options, then you may consider having a cervical artificial disc replacement at our Los Angeles facility.
This amazing mechanical structure will be used by our world-class spine surgeons at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital to give back to you the quality of life you were used to.
A cervical artificial disc replacement is typically available for patients who suffer from a cervical disc herniation and couldn’t treat this condition by using the non-surgical treatment. If the patient’s quality of life is significantly affected by cervical disc herniation, it’s recommended that they opt for this procedure.
Artificial disc replacement eliminates the need for bone grafts, screws, or plates in order to obtain a fusion after the disc is removed, which automatically affects motion in the area of the neck involved in the operation.
The artificial cervical disc is placed between two vertebrae. This device is inserted after the surgical removal of an intervertebral disc which was carried on in order to alleviate the pressure of the spinal nerves. The purpose of using this device is to preserve the motion of the disc space.
The following series of steps are performed to complete a spinal fusion procedure:
- first, the surgeon deploys a standard surgical procedure to replace the disc by using a front to front or anterior cervical spine approach
- The surgeon will eliminate the damaged disc and any remaining fragments or osteophytes (bone spurs)
- the disc space is distracted (jacked up) to its prior normal disc height so that the nerves’ pressure can be relieved
- the artificial disc device is implanted into the prepared disc space using x-rays or fluoroscopy for a better positioning
The neck’s nerves are usually pinched when a disc gets damaged and starts to shrink. That is why it is important for the disc space to be distracted to its prior normal disc height. After the surgery, the patient should be released from the hospital in 1-2 days. They will receive indications on what physical activity they are allowed to perform; the limitations will be minimal.
An alternative to the anterior cervical discectomy and fusion is an artificial disk surgery which brings the following advantages:
- the neck’s motion is not affected
- the spine’s adjacent segments are less prone to degenerate
- bone grafts are no longer necessary
- patients regain the ability to move their neck faster
- patients can resume their daily activities faster
Postoperative neck braces are not required for disc replacement operations.
An artificial device poses the same risks as an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion such as infections, paralysis, blood loss, damaged nerves, the necessity to undergo another surgery. However, these complications are rarely severe.
The artificial disc does theoretically have some of the same potential complications associated with total knee or hip arthroplasty because small particle debris may react with the body.
This is a case of a 47-year-old female with excruciating pain and weakness in her neck and right arm. The pain radiated down to her thumb. The patient’s MRI showed that one of the discs was degenerated (at C5-6) and shrunk in height. She suffered from broad-based disc herniation. The patient had previously used medication for 6 months, as well as physical therapy, but the treatment was unsuccessful. Finally, she went through a C-ADR at C5-6 and her neck and arm pain were soon alleviated.
Figure 1 lateral X-ray and implant in place.