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Am I a Candidate for Cervical Disc Replacement?

Am I a Candidate for Cervical Disc Replacement?

The seven vertebral bones in your neck make up your cervical spine. Each vertebra is cushioned by a vertebral disc, but did you know that the discs in your neck are the most delicate part of your spine?

Cervical discs are prone to injury and degeneration, making them more brittle and susceptible to damage — especially as you get older. Two of the most common cervical spine conditions are herniated cervical discs and cervical spinal stenosis.

George Kakoulides, MD, and our surgical team specialize in diagnosing and treating neck pain. If you’ve noticed neck pain, stiffness, headaches, or other symptoms, it’s time to find out if you might need minimally invasive spine surgery.

Is it time to consider cervical disc replacement?

Vertebral discs are delicate, but they play an important role: they cushion the bones of your spine and protect your nerves. When a disc gets damaged, pressure on nerves often causes pain and stiffness.

Cervical disc replacement is a minimally invasive spine procedure that removes part or all of the damaged disc and replaces it with a sturdy, artificial one. Cervical disc replacement is surgery, so it isn’t right for everyone. However, you could be a candidate if:

Conservative treatment isn’t working

There are a variety of nonsurgical treatment options for herniated cervical discs and nerve pain from disc degeneration. If Dr. Kakoulides diagnoses you with a cervical disc condition, he generally starts by recommending conservative treatment first.

Your options may include anti-inflammatory medication, epidural steroid injections, physical therapy, or alternative therapies like acupuncture and chiropractic. Dr. Kakoulides monitors your condition as you try these conservative treatments to help you find the best combination to relieve your symptoms.

Many people find that conservative care effectively reduces their symptoms. But if you try these treatments and you’re still living with pain, numbness, or other issues, you could be a candidate for cervical disc replacement.

Symptoms aren’t limited to your neck

The most common symptom of cervical disc damage is neck pain and stiffness. However, symptoms can spread from your neck to other parts of your body if your condition is severe enough.

You could be a candidate for cervical disc replacement if you experience pain, numbness, or weakness in your shoulders, arms, or hands. Nerve pain that originates in your cervical spine and travels down your arms is an indication that your condition may not respond well enough to conservative care.

In these cases, Dr. Kakoulides may recommend cervical disc replacement surgery to relieve your pain, preserve your range of motion, and improve your quality of life.

What to expect with cervical disc replacement surgery

Dr. Kakolides evaluates your spinal condition with a comprehensive exam and medical imaging, like X-rays, MRI, or CT scans. He talks with you about your symptoms to determine if you’re a good candidate for cervical disc replacement.

If you choose to schedule disc replacement surgery, our team gives you specific instructions to prepare for the procedure. Most cervical disc replacements take several hours to complete. You are put under general anesthesia for disc replacement.

During surgery, Dr. Kakoulides makes an incision to access the disc in your neck. He carefully removes the damaged parts of the disc and inserts an artificial disc in its place.

He closes the incision and we move you to a recovery room. After you wake up, you can expect to spend 1-2 days in the hospital. We administer medication to manage post-surgical pain at first, but many people experience a significant improvement in pain within two to three days.

We give you at-home care instructions once you’re discharged, and you can expect to have follow-up appointments with Dr. Kakoulides.

When nerve pain from cervical disc damage limits your life, disc replacement could offer lasting relief. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Kakoulides online or call 631-358-2589 to request your first appointment.

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