Sparks Tribune – Your Health
November 19, 2013
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Surgical options relieve neck pain
by Dr. Deven Khosla
Options in spinal surgery for injuries to the neck include a traditional spinal fusion and an advanced artificial disk replacement.
A disk in the spine has a center area called the nucleus surrounded by a tough outer portion. It functions as a shock absorber between the vertebrae. When a disk ruptures, or becomes herniated, the compressible disk tissue can spread into the spinal canal and press against nerves or the spinal cord, causing numbness, weakness or pain.
Spinal surgeons have reported that artificial disk replacement works as well as and often better than spinal fusion surgery. A spinal fusion requires a longer recovery, and the patient must wear a neck brace. With artificial disk replacement, a neck brace is not required and recovery is more rapid. Spinal fusion locks the vertebrae together, so that the fused bones can move only as a unit. An artificial disk preserves the spine’s mobility and shares the loads exerted on the spine. This reduces the probability of needing a future surgery.