When you’re experiencing excruciating pain in your neck, it’s hard to get anything done. The same is true when you have weakness or numbness in your arms. All these symptoms could be related to a problem with the spongy protective discs in your neck. When they degenerate, the discs may press on nerves, causing pain and other uncomfortable symptoms.
At Kellogg Brain and Spine, our team offers cervical disc replacement surgery when other treatments haven’t improved your symptoms. Dr. Jordi Kellogg is our board-certified neurosurgeon who discusses your options when it comes to replacing a damaged disc in your neck.
Understanding cervical disc replacement surgery
Your neck contains seven cervical vertebrae that give your neck stability and keep the top portion of your spinal cord protected. Between each vertebrae are spongy protective discs, called intervertebral discs.
These discs help absorb shocks or pressure placed on your neck. Because of this, they’re prone to injuries and degeneration over time. If your spinal canal narrows, it may lead to one of these discs pressing on your spinal nerves, causing pain and tingling in your arms and neck.
When you have these symptoms, and your discs are the culprit, cervical disc replacement surgery is an option. During this procedure, Dr. Kellogg removes the damaged disc and replaces it with an artificial one.
Before this type of surgery was available, your only option was a cervical fusion, which connected two or more of the bones in your spine. Though effective at treating pain, that procedure limited the motion in your neck.
Cervical disc replacement surgery is a newer technology that allows Dr. Kellogg to take out diseased cervical discs and replace them with strong, artificial discs. This improves your symptoms and allows you to keep most of the motion in your neck.
When do you need your disc replaced?
Neck pain, arm pain, and weakness or tingling are all signs of a problem with your cervical discs. If you have any of these symptoms, finding treatment is crucial to engaging in your normal activities.
When you first seek treatment, Dr. Kellogg recommends conservative measures like physical therapy or anti-inflammatory medications. Injections are also an option when other things don’t work.
However, if you’re still dealing with pain months later, you may want to consider surgery. Dr. Kellogg recommends considering disc replacement surgery when:
You haven’t found relief through nonsurgical treatments
The first line of treatment for most types of neck or back pain is nonsurgical in nature. This means you’ll need to rest, take part in physical therapy, and try over-the-counter medications.
However, if pain and other symptoms persist, despite a conservative treatment regimen, it’s time to consider more aggressive forms of treatment. In the case of neck pain, this could mean disc replacement surgery.
You have neck pain or arm numbness and weakness
Pain and numbness or weakness could indicate a pinched nerve in your neck. This happens when the damaged disc herniates out of place, putting pressure on the spinal nerves.
If Dr. Kellogg determines this is the cause of your symptoms, cervical disc replacement surgery is extremely helpful in eliminating your pain, while maintaining the normal movement in your neck.
One or more of your cervical discs are degenerated
Disc degeneration in any part of your spine can happen over time. It’s an unfortunate part of aging. However, when your discs are degenerated and causing pain or discomfort, a disc replacement can help.
The replacement disc continues to act as a shock absorber and keeps your spine functioning as it should. This helps eliminate pain and disability related to the degenerated discs that were removed.
Benefits of disc replacement surgery
If you’re tired of suffering from pain in your neck, cervical disc replacement surgery could be the answer. Before nodding your approval for this procedure, it’s good to know all the information you can, especially the benefits. Some of the advantages a disc replacement has over other procedures include:
- Keeping your the natural motion in your neck
- Recovering quicker after surgery
- Lacking the need for bone grafting
- Fewer complications than spinal fusion surgery
- Reducing the risk of adjacent level syndrome
Ultimately, the decision to undergo disc replacement surgery is yours. Dr. Kellogg helps you decide if you’re a good candidate for this procedure. If you decide on this procedure, Dr. Kellogg and the team are with you every step of the way on your journey to less pain in your neck.
To find out if you’re a candidate for a cervical disc replacement, call one of our offices in Portland or Wilsonville, Oregon, to schedule a consultation. You can also request an appointment on our website.