Cervical Total Disc Replacement

Cervical total disc replacement, also known as TDR, has become an FDA approved option for surgically treating symptomatic cervical disc disease.  This procedure is similar to the anterior cervical discectomy and fusion except that the defect that is created by removing the disc from between the two vertebrae is filled with a disc replacement device.  A disc replacement device is typically composed of two metallic surfaces one of which is attached to the upper and the other to the lower vertebra at the affected disc level.  These metal implants can then slide on each other directly or can be separated by a piece of medical grade plastic.   The device allows for motion between the two vertebrae to be maintained and avoids the need for a fusion.

Cervical TDR can be used to preserve motion of the segment and decrease the incidence of adjacent segment disease, and it has been developed as an alternative to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion in the surgical treatment of degenerative disc disease.  Overall, the clinical outcomes of cervical TDR in other studies have been acceptable, though the main advantage of the cervical disc replacement was supposed to be a decrease in adjacent segment disease compared to cervical fusion surgery, ACDF.  While some studies have demonstrated a decreased incidence of adjacent segment disease, most of the larger studies have been inconclusive.

It is important to understand that disc replacement is a newer procedure with less of a track record than the more traditional anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery.  Cervical total disc replacement has only been available in the United States for the past several years; however, the procedure has been performed in Europe for more than 20 years.  More data on disc replacement is being generated every year, but both patients and physicians must understand that this is a newer surgical option with longer term results that will need to be watched closely.

For more information contact any of our office locations conveniently located to the Dallas, Irving, Red Oak, Plano, Southlake, Grapevine, Colleyville and Duncanville areas.