Cervical Disc Surgery

What is cervical disc disease?

Cervical discs are the spongy, fluid-filled discs located between the vertebrae, or bones, in the neck. They act as shock absorbers and allow for movement, helping you twist and bend your neck.

By the age of 60, most people have some form of degeneration in the spinal discs. The discs may bulge, herniate or lose fluid. As they do, they become thinner. You may have no symptoms when these things occur, or you may experience symptoms including:

  • Neck pain
  • Numbness, especially in the arms, hands and fingers
  • Headaches
  • Loss of some of the motion when turning your head
  • Tingling or weakness in the limbs

For most people, the pain of a bulging or herniated disc goes away after a few months. Some may require physical therapy to relieve the pain and regain strength and motion. In some cases, people experience symptoms that don't go away and may require surgery to alleviate the problem.

How are cervical disc problems diagnosed?

Your physician will ask about your symptoms and medical history and do a physical examination. In addition, you may have one or more tests, such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-rays, electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) studies or myleogram.

Surgical treatment

There are two options for cervical disc surgery – fusion and replacement.

During a cervical disc fusion your surgeon will:

  • Remove the problematic disc. /li>
  • Fuse the vertebrae above and below it together with a bone graft.
  • Over a few months, the body forms new, strong bone around the graft, which fuses it to the vertebrae.

During a cervical disc replacement your surgeon will:

  • Remove the degenerated disc.
  • Replace it with an artificial one.

The surgeons at REX Neurosurgery & Spine Specialists can help you decide on the treatment that's best for you. They specialize in minimally invasive spine surgery, for relieving pain and are experienced in diagnosing and treating disc disorders and disease, using the newest techniques for relieving pain and returning you to an active lifestyle. To make an appointment at REX Neurosurgery & Spine Specialists, call 919-784-1410.


American Association of Neurological Surgeons