Cervical Total Disc Replacement Surgery

Cervical total disc replacement can be an excellent option for disc-related issues in the cervical area of the spine. For people who have consistent neck pain, which may or may not be accompanied with arm pain that has not responded to treatment methods such as physical therapy or other non-surgical treatments, surgical options such as cervical total disc replacement may be used to relieve and decrease the pain.


Traditionally, spinal fusion has been the main go-to surgery for addressing long-term neck pain or arm pain. Fortunately, as technology and surgical techniques continue to evolve, alternatives are emerging. Cervical total disc replacement surgery has become an increasingly popular option; offering greater mobility quicker recovery and a reduction in the risk for an additional spine surgery in the future. The 2021 Position Statement From the International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery on Cervical and Lumbar Disc Replacement confirms that cervical disc replacement surgery is an effective alternative surgery that helps relieve back and neck pain while still preserving more motion than would be possible with spinal fusion.

Candidates for cervical disc replacement

Cervical disc problems can then manifest in a variety of ways. One of the most common ways is a herniated disc, which results when the center of the disc (annulus) pushes through the exterior of the disc. It can subsequently press on the surrounding nerves and cause significant pain in the process. In these instances, cervical disc replacement can be a great option for resolving the issue.  Once the damaged disc is removed and replaced with an artificial one, the patient is generally able to have their pain reduced and still retain motion in their spine.  


Cervical total disc replacement is generally reserved for patients who have degenerative disc disease, a herniated or recurrent herniated disc, or a bulging disc. However, patients should first try non-surgical treatment such as physical therapy and epidural injections. If non-surgical treatments options do not result in pain relief, patients can then seek out an evaluation for cervical disc replacement surgery. It’s recommended to visit an experienced disc replacement surgeon for this evaluation. 


For some spinal conditions, cervical disc replacement is not recommended. Instead, spinal fusion maybe the appropriate procedure. For example, it is not ideal for those who have scoliosis, significant facet joint disease, spinal fractures, spinal instability, or osteoporosis. It is also not recommended for patients with previous spinal surgery complications, autoimmune disorders or patients who are obese.


At The Center for Disc Replacement, we offer a comprehensive evaluation that will help determine the primary cause of your neck pain. We may recommend several tests — such as MRI scans, CT scans, X-rays, and bone density (DEXA) — to ensure this is the best treatment option for your needs.

If you do not qualify for cervical disc replacement surgery, we will continue to help you find a treatment option that better suits your situation.

Cervical artificial disc replacement surgery

When you undergo cervical total disc replacement surgery, you’re placed under general anesthesia. The surgeon then makes a small two-inch incision on the side or front of your neck. The important structures of the neck are carefully moved to the side until the surgeon can see the front of the cervical spine. The affected disc is then removed, and the artificial disc is inserted in its place. The procedure takes approximately 1-2 hours.

Recovery after cervical disc replacement surgery

On average, most patients are able to go home the next morning after surgery. Most people are up and walking a few hours after surgery. Most cervical disc replacement patients will wear a soft collar for comfort for a short period of time to provide additional support, if necessary.

Cervical total disc replacement surgery in Texas at The Center for Disc Replacement

Located in Plano, Texas, the Center for Disc Replacement at Texas Health Center for Diagnostics and Surgery is a specialty program within the Texas Health Center for Diagnostics & Surgery (THCDS).


The surgeons at the Center for Disc Replacement are pioneers in spine care, having performed thousands of artificial disc replacement procedures, beginning in 2000 with the first lumbar disc replacement in the United States. Being known around the world as leaders in spine care, these surgeons also participate in and are committed to clinical research that allows early access to the latest arthroplasty technologies and have authored numerous publications about disc replacement technology.


At THCDS’s state-of-the-art hospital, we are committed to providing advanced surgical services in a calm and healing environment. Most importantly, our team strives to actively engage our patients and their families in all aspects of your care and support, ensuring that a culture of healing extends into every part of what we do.


If you’re considering cervical total disc replacement surgery and are interested in finding out if you are a candidate for this procedure, get in touch with our team today. We would be more than happy to talk with you about the process, answer any questions you may have, and discuss whether this type of surgery could be an option for you. 


Not local to Texas?  Many of our patients live outside the DFW area and even in other states, and travel to Plano for their disc replacement surgery. We are happy to help coordinate this process with you. 


You can reach us directly at 972-608-5146.


Our team has also compiled some of the most commonly-asked questions about the process of having your disc replaced — we hope this helps with any questions you may have about the process.

What is cervical total disc replacement?

Cervical total disc replacement — also known as total disc arthroplasty or, artificial disc replacement — is a type of surgery where a damaged disc in the cervical area of the neck is removed and replaced with an artificial one. The artificial disc is designed to mimic the form and function of the spine’s natural disc allowing for more natural motion

What are the benefits of cervical disc replacement?

The benefits of cervical artificial disc replacement include:

Where is cervical disc replacement performed?

Cervical disc replacement is performed through the front of the neck. Your surgeon will make a two-inch incision on the front or side of your neck at positions overlying the area of the neck that is involved. Cervical disc replacement can be performed at C4-5, C5-6, or C6-7. It cannot be performed at C1-C2, C2-C3, C3-C4, or thoracic levels.

Can you have more than one cervical disc replacement?

Yes, cervical disc replacement can be performed at multiple levels. Most insurance companies will approve coverage for one and two level cervical disc replacements.

Are cervical disc replacement implants FDA approved? Which implant will my doctor use?

Yes, there are several FDA-approved disc replacement devices available in the U.S. It’s important to discuss what device options are appropriate for you, as there are several factors a surgeon considers when determining which device to use. The physician will determine which implant is appropriate for you by examining your spinal anatomy, vertebrae size, disc height, and overall spinal stability.

How do I qualify for cervical disc replacement surgery?

Some of the common conditions that may make you a good candidate for surgery include:

  • Neck pain with or without arm pain
  • Conservative treatment without significant relief of pain
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated cervical discs
  • Previous disc surgery with continued pain
  • Being told you should have a fusion

However, your doctor will be able to discuss with you whether cervical total disc replacement surgery would be an effective option for your specific circumstances.

I was told I need I fusion how do I know if I am a cervical disc replacement candidate?

If you are interested in finding out if you are a good candidate for this procedure, you should get a second opinion. It’s important to discuss artificial disc replacement surgery with a surgeon experienced in both fusion and ADR surgery to determine if it is an appropriate treatment option for you.

Are there any conditions that cervical disc replacement won’t work for?

The causes behind neck pain can be quite complex and interconnected across the disc and surrounding spine. For example, patients with conditions such as scoliosis, ankylosing spondylitis, spinal fractures or significant facet joint disease would not qualify for disc replacement, and might be better served with fusion or other type of treatment. It is also not recommended for patients with previous spinal surgery complications, autoimmune disorders, or patients who are morbidly obese.

Can I have a cervical disc replacement if I am allergic to metals such as nickel?

Yes, there is now a cervical disc replacement that is FDA approved for patient who has a metal allergy to nickel.

What is the recovery process like after cervical disc replacement?

Most patients should be able to return home the morning after the surgery, though there may be some residual pain from the surgery itself. You should be able to return to work within 2-4 weeks and resume most recreational activities after 2-3 months.

Is cervical disc replacement covered by insurance?

Yes, most insurance plans cover cervical disc replacement, except Medicare and Medicaid plans. You should contact your insurance company to learn more about your specific plan coverage.

Are you ready to take the next step?

Contact us for more information

If you have additional questions about our spine services or would like more information about treatment options, please call our patient navigator at 972-608-5146 or

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