None of us want surgery, and if we have it, we don’t want to lose motion in our necks.
If orthopedic surgery has to be considered because nothing is working and you are suffering intolerably, one of the options to consider is disk replacement. An artificial disc is a prosthetic device inserted between the vertebrae to replace your natural spinal disc. It is designed to preserve your neck motion. The goal of the surgery is to remove all or part of the damaged disc (discectomy), relieve pressure on the nerves and/or spinal cord (decompression), and to restore spinal stability and alignment.
Traditionally, spinal fusion has been the gold standard for surgically treating disc herniation or degenerative disc disease. Using bone grafts and instrumentation, such as metal devices, this procedure fuses, or creates a bond between, two adjacent vertebrae. This will ideally stabilize the spine segment and provide pain relief. This procedure has been very successful over many decades. However, spinal fusion results in some loss of motion and flexibility.
As an alternative to spinal fusion, Dr. Rao may recommend a surgical procedure called artificial disc replacement. This is a type of joint replacement procedure, or arthroplasty, that involves inserting an artificial disc into the intervertebral space after a natural cervical disc has been removed. The device is designed to preserve mobility within the disc space and throughout the treated vertebral segment. It is designed to function like a joint, providing motion (flexion, extension, side bending, and rotation) and alignment (height and curvature) of a natural disc.