Cervical Discectomy with Replacement or Fusion: Which is Better?

Further Studies Needed on Cervical Discectomy with Replacement or Fusion

What is a cervical discectomy and is it better with disc replacement or disc fusion for treatment of a cervical herniated disc in the neck? Is fusion a bad thing? Dr. Seth Neubardt explains that most recent reports indicate that disc replacement with a motion sparing device may offer a slight benefit over the traditional fusion procedure but further studies are needed.

A cervical discectomy is a surgical procedure used in treating a herniated disc. (See the video about anterior cervical discectomy and fusion to learn more.) A modification of the procedure involves implanting an artificial disc replacement device to preserve motion rather than fusing bones together. We refer to this alternative procedure as an anterior cervical discectomy and disc replacement with a motion device.

Whether a cervical discectomy is better with or without the motion sparing device is a big issue in spine surgery. With the artificial device we have motion, but will it hold up long term for many years to come? We need more data from studies to know whether you should have a motion sparing device with your cervical discectomy rather than fusion, a time-proven technique with outstanding results. We will continue researching the topic and update the site when additional data becomes available.