Cervical disc replacement is a minimally invasive surgical procedure which aims to remove a damaged disc and substitute it with a prosthesis.
What is the cervical disc?
Cervical vertebrae are located in the neck. Between the cervical vertebrae, there is a buffer, called intervertebral disc. Its main function is absorbing the loads to which the spine must undergo, but also cushioning the movements occurring between the adjacent vertebrae.
With respect to the elements that cause a cervical hernia, we must distinguish between the acute-soft disc hernia that normally occurs in young patients and whose cause is due to a trauma, and the degenerative disc disease, in which the disc looks degenerated and dehydrated, being a consequence of cervical osteoarthritis.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms are of three types: cervical pain, pain referring to the limbs and spinal cord compression.
How is the surgery performed ?
There are many different surgical techniques. However, it basically consists of removing the whole disc, and then replace it by a prosthesis. The approach is through the anterior part of the neck, being necessary to separate some structures such as the carotid and esophagus.
This is a very safe procedure when performed by specialized surgeons. If doctors operate only a single disc, the surgery lasts no more than an hour.
Besides, the patient can be discharged the same day or day after, since the post-operative period and recovery is fast, and the scar cures quickly.
Cervical disc replacement devices
Specialists consider devices depending on the origin of the hernia. For instance, a mobile prosthesis is needed in young patients. In these cases, there are no associated degenerative changes.
Rigid prostheses are used in cases of medullar compression, where it is usually necessary to remove one or more vertebrae, or put a plate with screws to achieve the stabilization of the spine.
Prosthetic replacement of the intervertebral disc is an innovative technique, and has proven its effectiveness in expert hands.
At The London Spine Unit, The Harley Street Hospital, we have some of the best specialists to perform this procedure. Book an appointment to get a check up.