Cervical Approaches

What is Disc Replacement Surgery?

This surgery removes the degenerated disc, to then allow normal function and movement of the spine. A prosthesis (or artificial replacement) is used in the procedure. By completely removing the disc the pain is eliminated.

Disc degeneration means the disc is no longer able to perform its shock-absorbing functions, and also becomes reduced in height. Spinal discs are intended to be flexible, thereby allowing the spine to move forwards, backwards and sideways. This then leads to added strain on areas, promoting spinal instability, and an inability to hold normal loads. Ultimately, this can contribute to lower back pain.

Disc replacement surgery is now seen as the alternative option to undergoing spinal fusion surgery.

Advantages of Disc Replacement Surgery

As opposed to a spinal fusion, disc replacement surgery:

  • Allows motion in the area
  • Reduce risk to to adjacent discs
  • Allow a quicker return to everyday activities

When is it recommended?

The surgery may be considered if:

  • Your back pain mainly comes from one or two particular discs
  • You don’t have any compression on the nerves
  • You aren’t excessively overweight
  • You don’t have a spinal deformity
  • You haven’t had any previous major surgery on the spine


The goal of disc replacement surgery is to maintain motion in the affected area, and also reduce the stress on adjacent discs.