Cervical Disc Replacement

Artificial cervical disc technologies are being developed in an effort to treat symptomatic degenerative disc disease more effectively. The primary goals are to maintain spinal motion following anterior discectomy, reduce the incidence of degeneration of adjacent disc levels of the spine (adjacent-segment disease) and facilitate a more rapid return to normal activity.


Cervical surgery relieves pain by restoring the normal spacing between discs. The standard procedure for a disc replacement is an anterior approach (from the front) to the cervical spine. It is the same method as a discectomy and fusion operation.

The affected disc is completely removed, including any impinging disc fragments or bone spurs. The disc space is distracted (kept open) to its prior normal disc height to help relieve pressure on the nerves. This is important as a disc typically shrinks in height when it becomes worn out, which can contribute to pinched nerves and resulting neck pain. Guided by X-rays or fluoroscopy, the surgeon then implants the artificial disc device into the prepared disc space.

Postoperatively, the patient can typically go home within 24 to 48 hours with minimal activity limitations.