Cervical disc replacement is vital for individuals with a damaged or degenerative disc. This procedure sees the removal of the natural disc from the vertebra, and its replacement with an artificial disc. It differs from a discectomy, as there is generally no need for spinal fusion. Discs can be damaged in several different ways, including disease and injury. However, once damaged, they need to be treated in the right way. To learn more about treating your damaged cervical discs, contact Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health by calling Call407-303-5452 for an appointment.
Causes of Disc Damage
The cervical spine can be damaged in any number of ways. These include injury and disease, as well as traumatic events. Car accidents and sports injuries are two leading causes of cervical disc damage. However, degenerative disc disease is also a prevalent factor as well.
The problem with damaged or degenerative discs is that they can cause considerable pain and discomfort. Discs act as shock absorbers in the spine, cushioning the vertebras. As the disc deteriorates, it loses its ability to absorb shock. In addition, herniation can cause a portion of the disc to bulge out. This puts pressure on spinal nerves and causes additional pain. Disc replacement is the solution to both of these situations.
What Does the Surgery Involve?
Disc replacement is very straightforward, and usually does not require many ancillary procedures. Some patients will only have to undergo a discectomy, in which either the herniated portion of the disc or the entire disc is removed. Other patients will require a full discectomy and fusion treatment, though. Fusion is a means by which Dr. Chetan Patel can stabilize the spine and prevent unwanted movement. Fusion can be achieved using either plates and screws, or by using a cage device to hold the bone and graft components together until new bone growth fuses them into a single unit.
The benefits of disc replacement over traditional fusion surgeries are considerable. When replacing a damaged disc with an artificial one, the surgeon is able to avoid the need for fusion completely. While fusion does provide pain relief, it also eliminates motion in the area where the surgery was performed. By replacing the disc rather than fusing the bones, the surgeon is able to provide an almost-natural replacement for the body’s shock absorbing disc, and patients are able to avoid corpectomy and fusion.
Is Disc Replacement Right for You?
In order to determine if you will be a better candidate for disc replacement or a corpectomy and fusion procedure, your surgeon will need to perform a battery of tests to examine your spine. X-rays, CT scans and MRIs are typically used to determine the extent of the damage here, but you may also undergo physical testing to determine the amount of pain you suffer, the range of motion and other factors that will affect the surgeon’s recommendation.
For more information about disc replacement and other spine surgery options, speak with Dr. Chetan Patel at AdventHealth Medical Group Spine Health. Make a consultation appointment by calling Call407-303-5452.