The Advancement of Cervical Disc Pain Treatment

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Cervical disc replacements were first implanted in 1966. Throughout the years, technology has improved and refined implant materials and mechanics. By 2016, not only were cervical disc replacements for severe cervical disc disease preferred for the short term and the long term, the implants were made of titanium so an MRI follow-up image could be safely performed. These advancements allowed for more accurate, safe treatment along with the preservation of neck motion direction. Medical studies have established the current indications for a cervical disc arthroplasty, which includes a disc replacement.  In New Jersey, the spine experts at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics routinely treat patients with neck pain caused by any ailment through their accurate diagnostics then providing patients with the best options for a successful outcome.

It is important to note that not all patients who need surgery because of cervical disc disease, are candidates for a disc replacement. Some only need a partial discectomy with no implant required or they might need a fusion. A neurosurgeon or orthopedic spine surgeon must have been trained on the most recent techniques for proper disc replacement arthroplasty. Some spine surgeons might not know how to perform a total disc replacement so they only offer an ACDF to their patients instead of offering the right candidate the benefits of a disc replacement. Patients should inquire as to the surgeon’s experience of routine placement of artificial discs and their track record of successful disc replacement surgeries. Neurosurgeons and spine surgeons at CNSO have the experience and knowledge of the latest evidence-based medical criteria and they follow the current recognized guidelines for spine care.

Comparison of a Fusion versus a Mobile Cervical Disc Prosthetics in Spine

Previously, patients suffering from severe cervical disc herniation only had the option to remove either a portion or all of the damaged disc. If the entire disc was to be removed, then the two adjacent vertebral bodies needed bone graft and a prosthetic cage inserted between the bones to maintain the height of the disc space to prevent vertebral bone on bone. The two adjoining cervical vertebral bodies would then be secured together. Usually, an implant such as a metal plate with securing screws that acted as an internal “brace” to promote fusion would be applied. This operation, known as the Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF)remains necessary for certain cervical spine pathology and is extremely effective.  The success rate for a ACDF is 95-98%.

Securing two or more vertebral bodies together using a plate and screws is considered a fusion of the motion segments. The larger the area of the spine that needs to be fused, the more there is a limitation of the motion segments. Overtime, there may be extra wear and tear at either ends of the fused vertebrae and the adjacent non-fused vertebrae. If a multilevel cervical fusion is performed on a younger person, there is more time for stress to cause a degeneration on the adjacent segments. The incidence of adjacent segment disease after ACDF is approximately 10 percent over 5 years.

If only the cause of the neck pain and radiculopathy is that the cervical disc is excessively malformed, the neurosurgeon or spine surgeon may determine the patient’s cervical neck disease can be treated with a disc replacement instead of a fusion. If so, the patient’s cervical neck motion segment would be preserved and consequentially the likelihood of adjacent segment disease will be drastically diminished.  After the surgery, the neck will have full range of motion and move naturally. Thus, there would be little transferred stress to the adjacent segments and less degeneration around the implant. An added benefit to a one or two-level cervical disc replacement is that patients tend to return to normal activities of work and leisure faster than patients who undergo ACDF.

World-class Spine Care in New Jersey

When seeking a spine expert to assess neck pain, arm radiculopathy, and conservative or surgical options for cervical disc disease, look for experienced, qualified spine specialists who understand the complexities of diagnosing spine ailments. The diagnosis of symptomatic cervical disc disease can never be made from MRIs alone because most adults have abnormal findings on MRI even if they do not have symptoms. Patients need to have their symptoms heard, a physical examination to pinpoint areas of discomfort and then have that analysis pared any corresponding structural pathology evident on the MRI.

A spine specialist evaluating your cervical disc disease must be willing to spend a great deal of time listening to you in order to gather clues about where your symptoms are coming from. He or she must also conduct a detailed physical and neurological examination. It is only then that a spine specialist can make sense of a complicated MRI, with many possible abnormal findings, and determine whether these findings are related to your specific symptoms and signs. This is an important point:  If the initial diagnosis is incorrect, all treatment plans will result in failure, even if those treatments are performed well.

The body has a remarkable capacity for healing, and the role of your spine specialist is to guide you through this process quickly and prevent future recurrences of symptoms. At CNSO, up to 95% of cervical disc disease patients will return to normal activity without surgery.

However, for the rare patients who do need injections or surgery to regain normal function, the spine specialists must have a broad range of skills and a proven record of technical mastery to assure optimal outcomes. CNSO has the best spine specialists in the field located in Northern New Jersey.

NJ’s only Comprehensive Center for Cervical Disc Replacement

The dedicated team at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine, and Orthopedics (CNSO) understands how neck, back, and joint problems can impact daily life. By working with this team of renowned, board-certified neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, pain management doctors, physiatrists, rehabilitation specialists, and certified physical therapists, patients receive comprehensive and coordinated care, so they can quickly resume a healthy, less painful lifestyle free from disability. CNSO offers multiple convenient locations spanning across northern New Jersey, including offices in Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Essex, Hudson, and Sussex Counties.  Northern NJ patients can learn more about cervical disc replacement by contacting the providers at CNSO today.

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