The lower back is one of the most common sources of pain, but the upper portion of the spine—called the cervical spine—can also be a pain in the neck. Artificial disc replacement is a procedure that can offer pain relief and restore function. The artificial disc replacement is a prosthesis designed to simulate the function of a natural cervical disc.
Candidates for cervical artificial disc replacement include those suffering from degenerative disc disease, which is the breaking down of a spinal disc. The disc acts as a shock absorber for our spine and allows us to twist and bend. If the disc degenerates or herniates, you may experience symptoms such as pain radiating down the arm or numbness. As a result, you may have to alter your lifestyle to manage the pain.
Artificial disc replacement can be an effective alternative to spinal fusion for some patients. Spinal fusion is the conventional treatment for cervical disc degeneration and herniation when surgery is necessary. Fusion and artificial disc replacement are both designed to relieve pain, but some studies show that disc replacement can better restore the flexibility of the neck.