My father had degeneration of his lower back discs and he had surgery called arthroplasty. I believe it is replacing the discs. My mother has the same problem just below her neck and her doctor says he can't do the same type of surgery. Why not?
Currently, arthroplasty - replacement of discs - is only approved for the mid to lower back. The United States FDA has not yet approved it for the cervical, or upper spine, yet. That being said, there are ongoing studies that are examining the usefulness and the efficacy of cervical spine arthroplasty and the medical community believes that it shouldn't be too long now that the FDA will approve it within the next few years.
Alan H. Daniels, MD, et al. Adverse Events Associated with Anterior Cervical Spine Surgery. In Journal of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. December 2008. Vol. 16. No. 12. Pp. 729-738.
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