Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
195 Little Albany Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2681
If you have a condition in your neck that puts pressure on your spinal cord or spinal nerves,
your doctor may recommend a cervical disc replacement.
The spine in your neck, also called the cervical spine, has seven bones, called vertebrae.
The front part of each vertebra is called the vertebral body, except for the first vertebra.
Between most vertebrae is a soft cushion of cartilage called an intervertebral disc.
The back part of each vertebra has a curved section called the vertebral arch.
Except for the first vertebra, each vertebral arch has a bony projection called the spinous process.
On each side of the spinous process is a flat piece of bone called a lamina.
The vertebral arch of the vertebra surrounds and protects your spinal cord,
a column of nervous tissue connecting your brain to other nerves in your body.
Your spinal cord passes through an enclosed space, called the vertebral canal, which is formed by the vertebral arches of your vertebrae.
Over time, your cervical spine may develop problems such as a shrinking disc,
a herniated, or ruptured, disc, or bony growths on your vertebrae, called bone spurs.
These changes can narrow your vertebral canal and put pressure on your spinal cord or the nerves that branch off of it.
The pressure can cause neck pain and stiffness, or pain, numbness, and weakness in your arms or hands.
Before your procedure, an intravenous line, or IV, will be started.
You may be given antibiotics through the IV to decrease your chance of infection.
You will be given general anesthesia to make you unconscious and pain-free during the procedure.
A breathing tube will be inserted through your mouth and down your throat to help you breathe during the operation.
Your surgeon will make an incision on your neck.
The part of your cervical spine containing the damaged disc will be exposed.
Your surgeon will remove the entire damaged disc. Then, your surgeon will remove any bone spurs.
The vertebral bodies above and below the removed disc will be trimmed to allow placement of an artificial disc.
Finally, your surgeon will insert the artificial disc, which may be held in place with screws.
The artificial disc is designed to preserve normal motion at this level of your spine.
Your skin incision may be closed with skin glue or skin closure tape.
After your procedure, your breathing tube will be removed and you will be taken to the recovery area for monitoring.
You’ll be given pain medication as needed.
You may be released from the hospital within one to two days after your procedure.