Question:My doctor has suggested I have my neck fused from the front. What about disc replacement surgery?
Answer:The anterior cervical decompression and fusion surgery is likely what your doctor means. The disc that is causing the problem is removed and bone is put in its place. Studies show this surgery is successful. However, in the long run, some people will have problems with wear and tear in the neck above and below the fusion. This is most likely because there is less range of motion in the neck where it has been fused. The other areas have to move more to compensate.
Disc replacement helps maintain range of motion at the site where the disc is removed. It is hoped that there will be less degeneration of the area above and below where the disc is replaced so that longterm satisfaction will be improved. Disc replacement surgery is being studied, we do not know if it is a better option long term yet.Fei Liu, et.al. In Vivo Evaluation of Dynamic Characteristics of the Normal, Fused, and Disc Replacement Cervical Spines. InSpine. November 2007. Volume 32. Number 23. Pp. 2578-2584.
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