Cervical disc surgery is a type of surgery used to treat neck pain and other cervical spine issues. It involves removing a damaged or herniated disc, which is a soft, cushion-like tissue located between the vertebrae of the spine, and replacing it with an artificial disc or bone graft.
This surgery is usually performed when more conservative treatment options have failed to provide relief. It is important to note that not all neck pain is caused by a herniated disc and not all herniated discs require surgery.
Symptoms and Causes of Cervical Disc Problems
Cervical disc problems can arise due to a number of reasons, including age-related wear and tear, injury or trauma, or degenerative diseases. Common symptoms include neck pain, stiffness, and radiating pain or numbness in the arms, hands, and fingers. In some cases, the pain can even extend down the back and into the legs.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
In order to diagnose cervical disc problems, your doctor will perform a physical exam and take a medical history. Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs may also be required to confirm the diagnosis. Depending on the severity and type of disc problem, your doctor may recommend a range of treatment options, including rest, physical therapy, medications, or injections.
When Surgery is Necessary
Cervical disc surgery is generally recommended when more conservative treatments have failed to provide relief. It is also a viable option for those who are experiencing severe neck pain, numbness or weakness in the arms or legs, or loss of bladder or bowel control.
Types of Cervical Disc Surgery
The two main types of cervical disc surgery are anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) and artificial disc replacement (ADR).
Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF): During this procedure, the surgeon will make an incision in the front of the neck and then remove the damaged disc. A bone graft is then placed in the space left by the removed disc to create a new, stable joint.
Artificial Disc Replacement (ADR): During this procedure, the surgeon will remove the damaged disc and replace it with an artificial disc. This disc is designed to mimic the function of a natural disc and is meant to provide stability to the spine.
Recovery Time and Risks
The recovery time for cervical disc surgery will vary depending on the type of procedure performed and the individual’s overall health. Generally, most people make a full recovery within a few weeks. However, it is important to note that recovery can take up to three months or longer.
As with any surgery, there are risks associated with cervical disc surgery, including infection, nerve damage, and blood clots. It is important to speak to your doctor about the risks and benefits of this procedure before making a decision.
Cervical disc surgery is a viable option for those who are suffering from neck pain and other cervical spine issues that have not responded to more conservative treatments. While it carries certain risks, the procedure is generally safe and can provide much-needed relief. It is important to speak to your doctor about the risks and benefits of this procedure before making a decision.