Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery – Purpose, Preparation and Potential Benefits
Your cervical spine is composed of seven bones that are stacked on top of each other to form the neck. In between each of these bones, or vertebrae, are cervical discs that serve as cushions which absorb shock and allow your neck to move freely. When the spaces between the vertebrae become too narrow, part of these bones or your cervical disc can push into the spinal cord and nerves which is likely to result in pain, numbness or weakness. If these symptoms persist after trying non-surgical treatment, disc surgery may be recommended. Dr. Adam Lewis at Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic has trained extensively in a range of spinal treatment techniques. He was the first surgeon in Mississippi to perform disc replacement surgery for the neck and back. He is also credited with developing specialized equipment used in various procedures. Surgeons across the United States have studied technical surgical courses under his guidance.
Why is Cervical Disc Replacement Needed?
Most individuals who experience symptoms associated with injury or cervical disc disease will get better with conservative treatments. However, there are cases when cervical disc replacement surgery may be necessary for some of the following reasons:
- Provide pain relief for persistent pain
- Alleviate pressure on the nerves
- Restore disc height
- Preserve normal physiologic motion in the neck
How to Prepare for Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery
Before cervical disc replacement surgery was available, the affected disc was removed and the vertebrae directly above and below the area were fused together to provide stability and prevent motion. Read on to learn more about what you can expect from this new type of treatment before choosing to have the surgery:
- Before the Procedure: Notify your surgeon about any medications you are taking, including vitamins and supplements. Refrain from taking blood thinners
and smoking. You may also be advised to stop eating or drinking after midnight the night before your scheduled procure. The operation will be performed under general anesthesia which is typically delivered through an IV and a tube may be inserted in your throat to protect the passageway and assist with breathing.
- During the Procedure: The procedure may last a few hours but your heart, blood pressure and oxygen levels will be constantly monitored throughout. The surgical site will be disinfected and a 1-2-inch incision is made on the side or front of your neck. The internal structures of the neck are carefully moved aside until the vertebrae and cervical discs are visible. The affected disc is then removed and replaced with an artificial disc. Using stitches, the incision is closed and a small dressing is applied over the area.
- After the Procedure: Once the incision is closed, a rigid or soft neck collar may be placed around your neck to prevent motion and you will be taken to a recovery room. You will be observed after the procedure until the anesthesia wears off and you can expect to feel some pain while you recover. You may be prescribed pain medications and most patients will remain in the hospital for 1-2 days after the procedure. When you get discharged, recovery at home should be taken slowly and it is recommended to start physical therapy after a few weeks. Most patients make a full recovery in 4-6 weeks.
The Benefits of Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery
Artificial disc technology offers a number of benefits for patients who are good candidates for cervical disc replacement surgery. Explore some of these advantages below:
- Improves function by preserving normal neck functions
- Motion preservation helps reduce excess stress on the spine, potentially protecting it from additional degeneration
- Minimally invasive surgery improves recovery time, reduces the risk of complications and minimizes scarring
As a neurosurgeon with over 20 years of experience, Dr. Lewis specializes in diagnosing spine problems and designing custom treatment programs for patients who are looking to improve their quality of life. At Jackson Neurosurgery Clinic, you can expect innovative spinal treatment techniques using the latest medical technology to treat your pain and discomfort.
Contact us today to learn more about cervical artificial disc replacement or to schedule a consultation. We’ll find a solution that works for you. Call us at (601) 366-1011.