When Should You Replace Your Cervical Discs?
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The cervical spine is a sequence of vertebrae that stack on top of each other and form in the neck area. The cervical discs are the cushions that lie in between the vertebrae and act as shock absorbers for the rest of the spine. However, like the machinery we use in our daily lives, cervical discs are prone to wear and tear, and even moderate damage can wreak havoc on one’s health. For this reason, cervical discs should sometimes be replaced. If you suspect that your cervical disks have sustained damage, take a look at this guide, which describes when you should replace your cervical discs.


What are The Cervical Discs?

The cervical discs act as cushions for the vertebrae of the cervical spine. As these discs become worn down and damaged, there is a strong chance that you will sustain extreme discomfort and pain. In severe cases of disc disintegration, the patient may experience reduced mobility and paralysis.

In a cervical disk replacement, a physician removes the diseased cervical discs and replaces them with artificial disks. Prior to the development of this surgery, a physician would fuse the remaining discs in the spine after removing the questionable ones.

The new cervical disk replacement surgery offers patients a significant boost in terms of mobility and overall health outcomes. It is seen as the premiere option for those suffering from disc degeneration.


When Should You Replace Your Cervical Discs?

You should consider replacing your cervical discs if you suspect they have been significantly damaged in any serious way. Some of the symptoms that you may experience if your discs have begun to degenerate include the following:

  • Neck stiffness
  • Neck pain
  • Weakness in the shoulders, arms, hands, and legs
  • Pain in the shoulders or arms
  • Numbness or a pins-and-needles sensation in the arms

Degeneration of the cervical discs is a natural part of the aging process. There is a strong chance that you will experience some level of disc degeneration by the age of 60.


Risks of Cervical Disk Replacement Surgery

Cervical disk replacement surgery is an overall safe procedure. That said, there are always risks present when undergoing invasive surgeries of this sort. In addition, the novel nature of this type of surgery means that there is little date in terms of the long-term consequences surrounding the procedure. Some of the known risks surrounding the procedure include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Reactions to anesthesia
  • Spinal fluid leak
  • Nerve injury
  • Voice changes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Stroke
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Broken artificial disks
  • A need for additional surgery


Preparing for Cervical Disk Replacement Surgery

There are several steps that you can take to help ensure that your surgery goes smoothly and according to plan. This includes precautions like the following:

  • Inform your physician about any prescription medications that you take.
  • Inform your physician about any herbal supplements that you might be taking.
  • Tell your physician if anyone in your family has a history of reacting to general anesthesia.
  • Cease smoking for several weeks prior to your procedure and maintain that for several weeks following your initial procedure.
  • Prior to your surgery, you may be asked to cease drinking or smoking for some time.

In the weeks that follow your operation, there are steps that you can take in order to expedite your healing process and prevent further physical distress during your recovery period. Some of the following precautions may prove useful:

  • Wearing a soft or rigid neck support of some kind
  • Returning to your physician at a scheduled date to have your sutures removed
  • Engaging in physical therapy for a few weeks after your procedure
  • Avoiding your full routine for approximately six weeks following your procedure

In addition, you should stay aware of the following symptoms, which may indicate some serious medical situation is afoot:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Bleeding
  • Extreme pain
  • Numbness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing

Your healthcare professional should be able to guide you through any extraordinary circumstances you may experience, so do not hesitate to contact them if you have any misgivings.


The Best Spine Surgeon in Los Angeles

Dr. Yashar and the rest of his staff are dedicated to offering the residents of Los Angeles the best care available for their nerves and spine. Now that you know when you should replace your cervical discs, do not hesitate to contact our spine surgeon in Los Angeles to discuss your options.