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Cervical Disc Replacement

Minimally invasive outpatient cervical disc replacement is a surgical procedure performed to treat cervical spine (neck region) degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis. The goal is to alleviate pain, restore mobility, and relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.

This minimally invasive procedure uses smaller incisions and specialized surgical instruments that reduces tissue damage, and blood loss, which allows for a faster recovery time compared to traditional open surgery. Minimally invasive cervical disc replacement surgery is well studied, and studies confirm it is a safe and effective treatment option with low complication rates.

What is a cervical disc replacement?

Artificial cervical disk replacement has become a viable surgical alternative to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF) in almost all patients. In artificial cervical disc replacement, the damaged cervical disc is removed and replaced with an artificial disk made of titanium and plastic (like a total knee or hip replacement). Compared to a cervical fusion (which involves plates and screws), the disc replacement maintains motion leading to less wear and tear on the vertebra above and below the surgery site.

When is a cervical disc replacement performed?

Cervical disc replacement is used to treat cervical disc herniations with or without accompanying cervical spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal or nerve exits)

Who is a candidate for cervical disc replacement?

Most patients (if not all) that have neck and arm pain secondary to spinal stenosis or a disc herniation are candidates. An experienced spine doctor like Dr. Singh will conduct a thorough diagnostics evaluation and examination before recommending the treatment that will work best. Patients who may be candidates include:

  • Patients who did not experience improvement with conservative management and have persistent neck and or arm pain
  • Patients with arm or hand weakness

How is a cervical disc replacement performed?

Dr. Singh makes a less than 1-inch horizontal incision at the front of the neck, gently pushes aside the muscles beneath, and removes the herniated disc and any bone spurs using a microscope. Then Dr. Singh replaces the damaged disc with the titanium and plastic artificial disc restoring height and motion to the disc space.

What is the recovery process?

Cervical disc replacement is a minimally invasive outpatient surgery which means the patient goes home the same day as surgery. This rapid recovery is possible because of the less invasive nature of the procedure, which reduces the overall trauma to the body and allows for quicker healing. Overall the recovery process can range from a few weeks to few months.

Dr. Singh will provide each patient with complete post-operative recovery information.

Patient’s may have some postoperative pain or discomfort at the surgical site but most patients have stopped all prescription medications 5-7 days after the surgery. Dr. Singh may prescribe pain medications to manage any discomfort during the initial healing process.

Physical therapy may be recommended to help restore strength, flexibility and range of motion. As recovery progresses, Dr. Singh will provide guidance on when to resume specific activities, such as driving, working, or exercising. It’s important to follow these guidelines to avoid any setbacks in your recovery. Follow up appointments are important to monitor your healing.

What are the advantages of minimally invasive outpatient cervical disc replacement?

Minimally invasive outpatient cervical disc replacement offers several potential benefits, including smaller incisions, reduced postoperative pain, no hospitalization, faster recovery and return to daily activities, and decreased risk of complications compared to a cervical fusion all while preserving range of motion in your neck.

Schedule a consultation

If you or a loved one is experiencing neck and arm pain, contact Dr. Kern Singh to schedule a consultation to receive the correct diagnosis and all your treatment options.

Dr. Kern Singh, MD is an internationally renowned spine surgeon specializing in outpatient minimally invasive and motion-preserving techniques and endoscopic spine surgery at Midwest Orthopedics atRUSH and Professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at RUSH University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois. Dr. Kern Singh is one of the nation’s Top 100 spine surgeons and is beloved by his patients for his compassionate care and excellent outcomes.  He welcomes nationally and internationally- based patients.


  • McGirt MJ, Rossi V, Peters D, Dyer H, Coric D, Asher AL, Pfortmiller D, Adamson T. Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion in the Outpatient Ambulatory Surgery Setting: Analysis of 2000 Consecutive Cases. Neurosurgery. 2020 Mar 1;86(3):E310-E315. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyz514. PMID: 31819994.
  • Jenkins NW, Parrish JM, Nolte MT, Jadczak CN, Mohan S, Geoghegan CE, Hrynewycz NM, Podnar J, Buvanendran A, Singh K. Multimodal Analgesic Management for Cervical Spine Surgery in the Ambulatory Setting. Int J Spine Surg. 2021 Apr;15(2):219-227. doi: 10.14444/8030. Epub 2021 Apr 1. PMID: 33900978; PMCID: PMC8059397.
At A Glance

Dr. Kern Singh

  • Minimally invasive and endoscopic spine surgeon
  • Inventor and surgeon innovator with multiple patents in spinal surgery and instrumentation
  • Author of more than 10 textbooks in minimally invasive spinal surgery
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