Cervical spine artificial disc replacement (ADR) neck surgery for injured workers is relatively new in Wisconsin.  There are now several cervical artificial disc replacement devices approved by the FDA for use in the United States. The artificial disc is inserted in the space between two vertebrae. The goal is to replace the diseased or damaged disc while keeping your normal neck motion. The hope is that your spine will be protected from similar problems above and below the affected spinal level.

Disc replacement surgery is done to stop the symptoms of degenerative disc disease and radiculopathy.  Herniated disc or severely degenerated discs cause the vertebra above to sink toward the one below. This loss of disc height affects the nearby structures – especially the facet joints.

The traditional way of treating severe neck pain caused by disc degeneration is a discectomy and/or fusion.  Usually, when two vertebrae are fused together, a small piece of bone called a bone graft is inserted between the two vertebrae where the disc has been removed. This bone graft serves to both separate the vertebrae and to stimulate the two bones to grow together – or fuse.  The fusion procedure usually involves the use of hardware, such as screws, plates, or cages to keep the bones from moving. Fusion restricts movement in the problem area, but it creates greater strain on the healthy spinal segments above and below. The added strain may eventually cause these segments to wear out – adjacent-segment degeneration.

Replacing the damaged disc with an artificial disc, or implant, called a prosthesis can restore the normal distance between the two vertebrae. The artificial disc sits between the two vertebrae and “jacks up” the upper vertebra. Enlarging the disc space relieves pressure on the facet joints. It also opens up the space around the spinal nerve roots where they pass through the neural foramina.  Another benefit of the artificial disc replacement is that it mimics a healthy disc. Natural motion is preserved in the spine where the new disc is implanted. And it helps maintain stability in the spinal joints above and below it.

The success of ADR is still unclear.  A very recent study in Spine detected no more or less satisfaction as compared to traditional fusion surgery.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin McCormick Law Office workers compensation attorneys best results in cervical spine artificial disc replacement (ADR) for injured workers depend upon the doctor’s permanent work restrictions.  Representing welders, boilermakers, iron workers, and for some reason nurses, with neck surgery for a work-related injury our goal is getting the most benefits possible for the worker’s compensation employee.  For any surgery to have success, it is important that the injured worker follow medical advice.