Surgery: What to Expect – Artificial Disc

Artificial disc surgery is a type of joint replacement procedure, or arthroplasty, that involves inserting an artificial disc into the neck after a diseased spinal disc has been removed.

Through a small incision made near the front of your neck or abdomen (a surgical approach called the anterior approach) your surgeon will typically:

  1. Gently pull aside the soft tissues – skin, fat and muscle – to access the spine
  2. Expose the area where disc fragments and/or bone spurs are pressing against the neural structures (nerve roots and/or spinal cord)
  3. Remove the disc and bone material from around the neural structures to give them more space (discectomy and decompression)
  4. Insert and secure the artificial disc into the intervertebral space, using specialized instruments
  5. Ease the soft tissues of the neck and other structures back into place
  6. Close the incision

Knowing what to expect during your procedure may help you face your spine surgery with confidence. Your doctor will give you complete details about the procedure.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 27 Sep 2010

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