Cervical Disc Replacement

If you have cervical disc disease and your symptoms have not improved with nonsurgical treatments, your doctor may recommend cervical disc replacement.

Cervical disc replacement is a relatively new procedure that allows a surgeon to replace a damaged cervical disc with an artificial one. The procedure is gentler on the spine than traditional cervical disc surgery, and the recovery time is generally much shorter.

What to Expect: Cervical Disc Replacement

Cervical disc replacement usually takes a few hours to complete. You can expect the following on the day of your surgery:

  • An anesthesiologist will give you general anesthesia through an IV before the procedure begins.
  • Your surgeon will remove and replace the damaged cervical disc through a 1- to 2-inch incision in your neck.
  • Once the artificial disc is in place, your surgeon will close the incision with stitches and cover it with a surgical dressing.

Recovery time for this procedure is generally one or two days in the hospital. You may need pain medication during this time. You may also need to wear a neck brace to promote proper healing.

Upon your return home, it’s important to follow your physician’s instructions for recovery. This may include continuing to wear a neck brace, physical therapy, and strengthening exercises. Most patients are back to regular activities within four to six weeks.

Your cervical disc replacement care team is made up of comprehensive care providers. It may include specialists from these services:

Not everyone is an ideal candidate for cervical disc replacement. Your doctor will talk to you and fully assess your condition and symptoms before deciding if the procedure is right for you.