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Is Cervical Disc Replacement Right For You?

October 10, 2018  |  Staff

Neck pain affects almost as many people as lower back pain. The most common causes of neck pain are due to posture, injury or the natural progression of arthritis and disc degeneration. Symptoms can be felt in the neck region, but arm pain, numbness and weakness can also be an indicator of neck issues. Less obvious symptoms, such as hand numbness, loss of coordination and balance can also be present.


What Is Artificial Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery?


Your cervical spine is made up of seven bones, called the cervical vertebrae. These bones are stacked on top of each other and are surrounded by cervical discs, the cushions that lie between the cervical vertebrae. These discs act as shock absorbers to allow your neck to move freely.

When the cushion between your vertebrae wears away, part of your vertebrae or your cervical disc can press on your spinal cord or spinal nerves, causing you pain, numbness or weakness. When nonsurgical treatment options no longer provide relief, disc surgery may be recommended.

With Artificial Cervical Disc Replacement (ACDR), the diseased or damaged disc is replaced with a specialized implant that mimics the real disc. A disc replacement is designed to preserve spinal motion and keep the cervical spine properly aligned.


When Is Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery Necessary?


When the space between your cervical vertebrae begins to narrow, either from cervical disc degeneration or wear and tear, the cervical discs can begin to collapse and bulge. This is common with age and happens to most people by 60 years old. Some people have more symptoms from cervical disc degeneration than others and some symptoms are more severe. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any combination of the following symptoms.

Symptoms may include:

  • Neck pain and/or stiffness
  • Headache and/or migraine
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms
  • Pain that radiates to the shoulders or arms
  • Weakness of your shoulders, arms, hands or legs
  • Clumsiness or problems with balance
  • At least four to six weeks of nonsurgical treatment

What Are The Risks Of Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery?


While any surgery carries some risk, disc replacement surgery is a relatively safe procedure. There may be additional risks, depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your surgeon before the procedure.

Some potential risks of cervical spine surgery include:

  • Reactions to the anesthesia
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Spinal fluid leak
  • Stroke
  • Difficulty breathing and/or swallowing
  • Broken or loosened artificial disc
  • Failure to relieve symptoms
  • Need for further surgery



Many patients find the relief they need from non-surgical options. However, if your neck pain is more severe and symptoms do not improve after trying other options, surgery may be recommended. To learn more about treatment options or to schedule an appointment with one of the neck and spine specialists at Ventura Orthopedics, call us at 800.698.1280.

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