Total Cervical Disc Replacement is a proven alternative to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). Instead of fusing vertebrae together in order to restore stability, the damaged disc between the vertebrae is removed and replaced with an artificial disc. Outcomes of total cervical disc replacement are equivalent to anterior cervical discectomy in regard to positive response and effectiveness, with the benefit of mobility preservation and restoration. Pain resolution, mobility restoration/preservation, and stability of the cervical spine are common results of this surgery. Furthermore, complications such as the need for bone grafting, implant rejection, and extended recovery of the ability to swallow are decreased.
During this procedure, your surgeon with create an incision at the front of the neck adjacent to the affected disc. The damaged disc is then removed, in addition to any correlating bone spurs (osteophytes) compressing the spine or nerves. The disc space is restored to its original height, alleviating compression on the nerves and returning elevation to the neck. Lastly, with the assistance of fluoroscopic equipment, the artificial disc is placed in the space between the vertebrae.
Patients can generally return home within 24-48 hours following surgery. Movement is encouraged at the earliest opportunity. You may be given a neck brace to provide stability in the coming days and weeks. Physical therapy is prescribed within a few weeks after surgery. You may resume normal activity in 4-6 weeks.