Surgery: What to Expect

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


An artificial disc for the neck is designed to preserve mobility within the disc space and throughout the treated vertebral segment.

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

  1. Gently pull aside the soft tissues – skin, fat and muscle – as well as the trachea, or windpipe, to access the cervical 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 can help you face your spine surgery with confidence. Your doctor can give you additional 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: 22 Sep 2010

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