What to Expect For Your Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery

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What to Expect For Your Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery

Back and neck pain are common in the United States and are often the root cause of chronic pain issues. Remarkably 60% to 80% of American adults experience back pain, and 20% to 70% get neck pain, which disrupts their daily routines sometime during their lifetime. 

For many of these Americans, a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease is the cause of the problem. If you count yourself among these back and neck pain sufferers, you know that the quest to find relief can often be long and frustrating.

If you’re lucky, you can find a treatment or therapy that helps. Fortunately, minimally invasive surgery, such as disc replacement, is available when non-surgical treatment options fail. In this blog, fellowship-trained Neil Bhamb, MD, shares his cervical artificial disc replacement expertise.

Degenerative disc disease explained

A great place to start is explaining herniated discs and degenerative disc disease. Degenerative disc disease is the medical term for several medical conditions that happen when your body’s natural shock absorbers – spinal discs – wear down.

When your body is in tip-top shape, these discs positioned between your spine’s vertebrae cushion the pressure created when your body moves so that you can comfortably twist and bend. As a normal part of aging, spinal discs break down or degenerate over time. When the discs break down, the vertebrae can touch and rub, causing pain and other medical problems.

Among the issues that can develop as a result of degenerative disc disease are:

  • herniated disc, sometimes called a bulged or ruptured disc
  • Scoliosis - an abnormal curvature of the spine
  • Spondylolisthesis, which happens when a vertebra in the lower back slips out of its healthy position onto the vertebra below it
  • Spinal stenosis - the condition when the spaces around your spine narrow

Disc replacement versus spinal fusion

Dr. Bhamb addresses degenerative disc issues like herniated discs by promoting healing and performing minimally invasive spine surgery when all other treatments fail. He is a leading expert on disc replacement and leverages his experience and published research on image guidance and tissue healing to help his patients.

Dr. Bhamb performs disc replacement surgery or sometimes spine fusion, also known as spinal fusion. He determines which minimally invasive surgical option to do based on the condition and severity of the issue. Artificial disc replacement can address pain without limiting function by replacing damaged discs in your lower back or neck and maintaining mobility.

Spinal fusion is used in severe cases of spondylolisthesis to stabilize the spine and prevent further slippage, but it can also address recurrent herniated discs. During this procedure, Dr. Bhamb fuses two or more vertebrae. While the restriction of movement prevents nerve compression, thereby relieving neck or back pain, you also lose the range of motion in the fused part of your spine.

Two to three weeks recovery time

Minimally invasive surgical procedures typically require less downtime, and disc replacement surgery is no exception. Although recovery times differ from patient to patient, they generally can expect to return to routine daily activities by the second day after surgery. 

Patients can return to work and resume most daily tasks between two to three weeks after surgery. However, avoid some activities during the first month after surgery. Talk to your doctor before embarking on new activities, and ask for a list of possible restrictions.

Contact Dr. Neil Bhamb at our Century City or Marina Del Rey, California, office if you suffer from back or neck pain, have tried numerous treatment options without success, and want to know if minimally invasive spine surgery is right for you. Start your journey to a healthier spine by booking your appointment online or calling us today.