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Is Artificial Cervical Disc Replacement Better Than Spinal Fusion?

By Expert Author: Sana Afrin

However, here are a few points which note that artificial disc replacement is often better than spinal fusion surgery. So, read on and know more about it.

There are two surgeries, which are considered for the same purpose, and have been in competition for quite some time now. These surgeries are artificial cervical disc replacement surgery and spinal fusion surgery. Both of these surgeries are performed on patients who are faced with damaged discs in the neck. This thought can be stretched to limits.

However, here are a few points which note that artificial disc replacement is often better than spinal fusion surgery.

1. Motional Recovery
A number of researchers followed up with patients who had undergone these surgeries and noted that when the bones of the spine are fused and a disc is removed, the recovery process is slower as compared to those who received an artificial disc. Also, this helped the latter patients to lose less motion in the neck. According to researchers, the biggest advantage of choosing artificial cervical disc replacement is that it helps preserve all of the patient's motion.

2. No restriction to the neck
As noted above, the motion in the neck is better in case of artificial cervical disc replacement. This is because following spinal fusion surgery the neck is slightly restricted, throughout the surgery and even during the recovery stage.

3. Better process
In case of a fusion surgery, there is an additional amount of stress added in the spine which is below and above the fusion site. This works on breaking down bone a little faster than normal. So, if a young person gets a spine fusion surgery done, he might need have to go for it again in the future. So, 20-30 years down the line, another operation might be queued up. However, this does not happen in case of an artificial cervical disc replacement surgery. This surgery helps as it preserves motion which might act like a shield against additional stress, which builds up at other levels of the spine.

4. Quicker short-term recovery
In the short term, most patients who have undergone an artificial cervical disc replacement surgery felt that the recovery process was faster. This helped them to resume work and return to normal life sooner. After surgery, there is no need to wear a neck brace. Also, they there was a faster resolution to their pain as compared to the fusion patients. This is because with a fusion surgery, till the bone is fully incorporated,there is some pain, and the patient is faced with a couple of activity restrictions. However, with an artificial disc the pain is minimized as soon as the disc is in.

With the advantages over fusion surgery, it is important to be noted that an artificial cervical disc replacement surgery is not an option for some patients such as those with disc disease at multiple levels in the spine or arthritis. Reason for the same is that most of the insurance companies do not cover these issues in their policy currently. If, in future, these issues are added, it will help a number of patients to get a better option for their spine issues.

Jasmine Bilimoria is a research writer and a contributor with Same Day Spine Institute. Sameday Spine Institute specializes in minimally invasive treatments of the spine, using latest cutting edge technologies, such as stem cells, laser discectomies, artificial discs, spinal cord stimulators, minimally invasive fusions, etc for spinal treatments.

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