Are you struggling with a combination of neck pain and stiffness, headaches, radiating pain that travels down into your shoulders or arms, numbness from the neck down, or that distinctly uncomfortable “pins and needles” feeling in your arms? If you are, you could be a good candidate for cervical disc replacement.
At Spine Medicine & Surgery of Long Island, we offer high-quality care for patients of all ages with back pain, neck pain, sciatica and arm pain caused by a range of neck and back conditions. We coordinate a personalized, comprehensive treatment plan that considers all possible non-surgical options, including interventional pain management.
It’s imperative to consider all your options, especially the pros and cons of cervical disc replacement. Dr. Choi takes a conservative approach, and thanks to advances in spine medicine, the vast majority of our patients are treated without surgery. When surgery is necessary, he has in-depth experience in complex procedures and issues.
Are the Narrowed Spaces Between your Vertebrae Putting Pressure on your (Spinal) Nerves?
The cervical discs in your spine act as cushioning between each of your cervical vertebrae. Essentially, they are a suspension system for your spine, which means they’re built-in shock absorbers.
But what happens when the spaces between your vertebrae become too narrow? Your spinal discs or vertebrae can press on your spinal cord or spinal nerves, leading to varying degrees of pain and numbness, as described above. Does that sound familiar? You came to the right place because Dr. Choi is a pioneer and expert in the technique of cervical disc replacement. He even presented at the 2022 Cervical Spine Research Society Annual Meeting!
You’ve likely heard of the other treatment option for this ailment called fusion, which we will explore in this blog. First, let’s explore cervical disc replacement surgery with Dr. Choi and the team at Spine Medicine and Surgery of Long Island.
A Cut Above: An Intro to Cervical Disc Replacement Surgery
According to spine-health.com, this type of surgery is widely regarded as a “remarkable mechanical structure from an engineering perspective [thanks to its] ability to absorb a large compressive load while still providing an impressive range of motion between the bones in the neck.”
The cervical disc replacement surgery starts with Dr. Choi making a small incision at the front of your neck to gain access to the cervical discs in your spine. To remove the damaged cervical disc that’s been making life distinctly uncomfortable for you, he first moves your windpipe, muscles and arteries aside. From there, he inserts an artificial disc in its place.
These artificial discs are specially designed to replicate the size and function of your natural spinal discs. The main benefit of cervical disc replacement surgery is that you’ll retain more of the range of motion in your neck, and thanks to that new artificial disc, less stress will be put on the remaining discs in your spine, which is not always the case with fusion. A further benefit is that most patients experience some pain relief in the neck and arm almost immediately, with symptoms continuing to improve throughout the healing period.
It can be anxiety provoking even to consider having surgery no matter how much you suffer from discomfort and pain, but rest assured; you’re in good hands with Dr. Choi. Dr. Choi is known for his minimally invasive approach and is a leader in state-of-the-art procedures, including robotic spine surgery, artificial disc replacement, computer-guided navigation and more.
He strategically harnesses the latest in technology to perform safer, more accurate procedures and minimize surgical risks. With shorter recovery times and reduced postoperative pain, life after cervical disc replacement means you’ll be back to doing the things you love more quickly.
What About Fusion?
Cervical disc fusion is an alternative procedure, and for many years, it was considered the optimal choice for a disc in your spine that has collapsed or degenerated. Cervical disc fusion fuses the adjacent vertebrae so motion is lost at that spinal level. There are more activity restrictions on the patient.
Furthermore, according to research, recovery after artificial disc surgery holds the promise of returning to life’s everyday activities more expediently. Remember, there is still a recovery period in which we wait to ensure the bone grows into the metal surfaces of the artificial disc. With cervical disc replacement, the probability that you’ll be driving your car and going back to work within a few weeks is much higher.
Align Your Spine: The Benefits of Cervical Disc Replacement
As we’ve discussed, the thought of surgery can be anxiety provoking. However, as a privately owned practice, we provide you with the one-on-one attention and expert guidance you deserve, helping you to feel confident and secure in your options. Dr. Choi uses the latest diagnostic tools to uncover the cause of your pain and determine the appropriate treatment options. He also takes the time to explain your diagnosis to you in detail and go through the pros and cons of any procedure. Dr. Choi provides trusted, honest advice based on your unique symptoms, condition and needs. He only recommends spine surgery if he feels it will give you the best outcome and you’ll benefit from it.
If cervical disc replacement is the appropriate procedure for you, you can expect the following:
Pain Relief: When a disc becomes herniated, degenerated or collapsed, there is less room for the nerve roots and the spinal cord to function correctly. The solution entails removing the damaged disc and inserting an artificial one. This new disc relieves pressure on compressed nerves, giving them space to heal and function properly. Ultimately, having this procedure means that replacing the herniated or damaged disc with an artificial one will relieve pain in ways you may not have expected, and for good!
Freedom of Motion: Cervical disc replacement preserves more freedom of motion in your neck as opposed to fusion surgery. The artificial disc corresponds with the natural biomechanics of your spine, enabling it to be closely retained throughout the cervical spine when the neck moves. In addition to the benefit of increased mobility, the procedure also has a faster healing time.
Cervical Spine Health: Replacing the disc creates less stress on your remaining vertebrae and reduces the chance of the other discs degenerating. This fact lessens the probability that additional pain and disability from future adjacent level degeneration will occur.
It’s essential to keep in mind that your spine is critical for strength, mobility and overall health. This is why the pain can be debilitating when you have a condition that affects the spine. Yet, it’s also why the thought of treating the condition with surgery is often overwhelming.
Thanks to groundbreaking technology and research, the modern spine surgery Dr. Choi specializes in is significantly less invasive and focuses on preserving mobility. With smaller incisions, a shorter surgery, and an enhanced range of motion and flexibility, you’ll be more likely to live the pain-free, active lifestyle you remember without extensive downtime.
Enough with the Pain
If there’s one thing for certain, chronic pain, especially in your neck, arms, and back, can make you feel like you’re going crazy. Are you ready to regain more mobility, say goodbye to debilitating pain and reclaim your life?
As the premier spine care center in Suffolk and Nassau counties, Spine Medicine & Surgery of Long Island can help. Led by Harvard-trained, board-certified spine surgeon Dr. Daniel Choi, our boutique practice offers evidence-based, state-of-the-art spinal treatments for various neck and back conditions. We specialize in using advanced, minimally invasive techniques for lasting relief with less downtime.
There’s no need to suffer unnecessarily, especially considering the number of treatment options Dr. Choi and his team at Spine Medicine and Surgery of Long Island. If you’re interested in Cervical Disc Replacement, schedule a consultation with us.