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Solving Debilitating Neck and Arm Pain: Cervical Total Disc Replacement

Have you experienced neck and arm pain? For some people, this type of pain can be nearly unbearable. Our arms and neck are used in so many of our activities, from work to play to sleep. When we feel pain in these areas, it’s hard to ignore.

For many people, neck and arm pain can be debilitating and life-altering, affecting almost every aspect of their day. When this becomes the case, it’s often time to explore the issue with an orthopedic specialist.

At the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin, our physicians are well-versed in the impact of orthopedic pain, including discomfort that affects the back and neck. In some cases, surgical intervention such as cervical total disc replacement may be the answer.

Innovative Methods for Excellent Outcomes with Neck and Arm Pain

While neck and arm pain can certainly be life-altering, it’s essential to realize that there are treatments available. Dr. Stephen Robbins, one of our talented physicians at the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin, is board certified and has specialized in treating spinal disorders for the last 30 years.

While Dr. Robbins emphasizes conservative measures for treating cervical disc pain, he also performs state-of-the-art surgical procedures, including disc arthroplasty or cervical total disc replacement (TDR). He notes the improved outcomes he has witnessed in many of his TDR patients. Today, he discusses what you need to know if you’re facing cervical total disc replacement.

The cervical spine refers to the seven vertebrae in your neck. Between each vertebra is an intervertebral disc. Inside the cervical spine is your spinal cord, connecting your brain and nervous system to your limbs—sending signals throughout your body. Because the cervical spine is crucial to all movement, discomfort and nerve pain can be an extreme concern.

The technical term for a pinched nerve is cervical radiculopathy. This occurs when a nerve gets compressed or pinched due to the aging process (degeneration) or an injury. A herniated disc, where the intervertebral disc bulges and compresses a nerve, can often be caused by lifting, twisting or bending. 

Pinched nerves in the neck are usually quite noticeable, produce debilitating neck and arm pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling. For many, this condition can impact one’s quality of life and inhibit the inability to move and function normally. 

Fortunately, physicians can help most patients treat this type of neck and arm pain with physical therapy, medications, and steroid injections. For those patients who fail to improve with conservative measures, surgical intervention such as cervical total disc replacement is a highly successful option. 

Advantages of Cervical Total Disc Replacement over Traditional Fusion Surgery

While anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) has been the gold standard procedure for many years, many surgeons are now suggesting total disc replacement for improved outcomes and great recovery. 

Cervical TDR, also known as cervical disc arthroplasty or artificial disc replacement, is a procedure where surgeons duplicate the natural cervical intervertebral discs within the spine and replace them with an artificial disc. This procedure preserves motion, reduces adjacent level degenerative changes, and overall produces superior outcomes compared to fusion (ACDF) in many patients. 

Some advantages of cervical total disc replacement include:

  • Preservation of range of motion.
  • Avoidance of pseudarthrosis or the failure of a complete spinal fusion and healing.
  • Reduction in the incidence of adjacent level changes.
  • Earlier return to normal activities.
  • A dramatic decrease in the need for secondary surgeries.

While your physician will guide you through the best option to treat your neck and arm pain, it’s important to know that cervical total disc replacement is an option with excellent outcomes. Should your orthopedic specialist recommend this procedure, you can rest assured that it will help you make a positive recovery to a pain-free future.

Experiencing Superior Results with Cervical TDR in Patients with Appropriate Indications

Dr. Robbins tells us, “I have been performing cervical disc arthroplasty since the early 2000s, primarily for treating degenerative disc disease and cervical radiculopathy. Throughout my practice, I have found that cervical TDR has produced superior results in terms of overall success, neurologic outcome, disability scores, adverse events, patient satisfaction, and the need for secondary surgeries.”

“Presently, I use the MOBI-C cervical disc for cervical total disc replacement. This prosthesis is composed of three articulating components, a mobile core and two titanium endplates. I have noted excellent outcomes in patients who have appropriate indications for this device and who have failed to find relief through extensive conservative treatment measures.”

If you are experiencing debilitating neck and arm pain, your path to becoming pain-free can begin with an appointment with Dr. Robbins or any of our neck and back specialists at the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin. Our specialists can provide you with a diagnosis and the treatment options best for your unique situation. We’ll help you get back on the path to pain-free movement.

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