We’re all at risk for back pain. As we age, our spines are vulnerable to degenerative arthritis, especially in the cervical area around our neck. Through the years there have been many different techniques used to try to address the pain and deficits posed by this issue, but none have been as innovative as the protocols introduced in the last several years. At our cervical spine surgery practice in New Jersey, we are able to offer our patients multiple options tailored to their specific problems. We start with conservative treatment protocols in the hopes that they will bring relief, but always keep in mind that advanced surgical techniques offer the promise of success.
Understanding Degenerative Disk Disease
To understand why spine surgery is often the best answer, you need to understand why our disks degenerate, and why healing is such a challenge. As we age, the soft tissues in our body begin to lose their structure and function, and when it comes to the disks in our spine that means a loss of both height and elasticity. Unlike other areas of the body that have a blood supply that helps with regeneration and healing, the disks in our spine don’t have their own blood supply. The best that exercise and medication can do is to stop the deterioration: it can’t replace what has been lost. That’s where surgery comes in.
When physical therapy, injections and medication are not enough to relieve patients with cervical spine degeneration of their discomfort, surgery is often the best option. In many cases we turn to a procedure known as an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion, which removes the disk that has degenerated and replace it with a replacement that leads to a fusion of the natural materials. This highly successful procedure both relieves the pain and stops the degenerative process.
Another surgical option for degenerative disk disease is cervical disk replacement, which is also known as arthroplasty. This procedure accomplishes the same level of pain relief, but instead of inserting a graft and plate, we insert an artificial disk into the spine where the degenerating disk had been. This procedure provides a greater level of mobility than is generally accomplished through fusion surgery.
Cervical Spine Surgery Can Provide a Tremendous Improvement in Quality of Life
Modern medical innovations have made it possible for spine surgeons to provide patients with remarkable results despite the surgery being conducted in a way that is minimally invasive. Patients generally feel better almost immediately, and are able to leave the procedure with only a small incision in the front of their neck.
For information about whether you are a candidate for these types of surgical interventions, contact our office today to set up an appointment with our cervical spine specialty practice.