This procedure replaces a degenerative or damaged spinal disc with an implant designed to preserve motion in your neck. This procedure can relieve the pain of compressed nerves in the cervical spine.
In preparation for the procedure, you are positioned on your back. You are anesthetized. The surgeon creates a small incision in the front of your neck. The structures within your neck are gently moved aside to create a path to your spine. The surgeon carefully removes the damaged disc. This leaves a space between the vertebrae. The implant has three parts: upper and lower metallic plates and a plastic core that sits between them. The plates have teeth designed to hold them securely in place. These teeth are pressed into the upper and lower vertebrae. Over time, bone will grow and attach to these plates. Unlike a rigid neck fusion, which locks your neck in a fixed position, the implant is designed to allow you to move your neck more naturally. The components glide smoothly against each other. With the implant, you can turn your head and bend your neck forward, backward and side to side, just as you would with an undamaged disc. When the procedure is complete, the incision is closed. You may wear a neck support as you heal. You may benefit from physical therapy. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions to aid your recovery.