What Are The Risks Involved in Cervical Disc Surgery? How Can You Recover From It?

Most of us suffer from neck pain as we get old. A diseased cervical disc may cause this pain. Most of the time, this is healed automatically with time.

But, if the pain increases with time and affects your arms and legs, you must take medical help. For the worst cases, surgery is the only option. It is called cervical myelopathy. So, let us talk about the cervical disc, the risks it involves, and how to recover from it.

What is a cervical disc defect?

What Are The Risks Involved in Cervical Disc Surgery? How Can You Recover From It?

When one of the more discs is in an abnormal condition, this disease may appear. These discs are cushions that you can find between your neck bones. When degenerative disc disease damages any disc, we feel neck pain from muscle spasms and inflammation. When the pressure on our spinal cord and cervical nerve roots increases, we may feel numbness in our hands and legs.

What is cervical disc surgery?

In a cervical disc surgery, the defected disc that pinches the nerve or presses our spinal cord is removed safely. This surgery is known as a discectomy. The surgeon, here, removes the disc by a small incision. Most of the time, this space is closed when the disc is removed to restore the original spinal built.    

Here, you get two options:

1. Replacing the disc with an artificial one
2. Cervical fusion

Artificial disc replacement

What Are The Risks Involved in Cervical Disc Surgery? How Can You Recover From It?

In the year of 2007, using artificial discs was approved. These discs look and function exactly like a natural disc and are made of metal. Since then, different types of artificial discs are made and used for surgical purposes. Research says that these artificial discs are very safe and can improve arm and neck pain effectively. This surgery can ease our motion which is as good as any cervical infusion. When you get an artificial disc, you will be able to return to your normal life more quickly. 

But when you opt for artificial disc replacement, the surgery takes more time, and you may lose more blood than disc infusion. Over time, how this surgery will result is yet unknown. But, you can always go for a cervical fusion in the future. If you opt for cervical fusion first, you cannot use an artificial disc in the same area.

Cervical fusion

What Are The Risks Involved in Cervical Disc Surgery? How Can You Recover From It?

Everyone cannot go for artificial disc surgery. If you have joint disease, inflammation, infection, or stainless steel allergy, you cannot opt for disc replacement. In cervical fusion, the surgeon will remove your defected disc and place a bone taken from your cadaver or hip area in the blank space between your vertebrae. This new bone will fuse in the vertebrae. A metal screw can be used to hold the bone in its place while it gets healed and fused in. This process heals the spinal disc disease but in some cases, people feel restricted to do some neck movements.

Are there any risks involved in cervical disc surgery?

Different types of complications can arise when you have a cervical disc surgery. These can be divided into three categories;

1. Risks related to anesthesia
2. Risks during the surgery
3. Risks after the surgery

Anesthesia risk factors

Anesthesia is performed before any spinal surgery. Some amount of risk is always involved when anesthesia is done. The side effects of anesthesia mainly depend on your health condition, your endurance power, the type of anesthesia, and your response to it. Some side effects of anesthesia include;

• Negative reaction to the medication
• Blood pressure fluctuation
• Chances of heart attack
• Vomiting tendency and nausea
• Sore throat
• Vocal cord related issues

Risks during the surgery

Spinal cord or nerve injury

When any type of surgery is done on our spine, there is a high risk of spinal cord or nerve damages. This happens because of the instruments that are used during surgery.

Dural tear

Dural is a tissue, packed with water that covers our spinal cord and nerves. During the surgery, this tissue can get damaged.

Risks after the surgery

Chances of infection

When any surgery is performed on the spinal area, there are high chances of infection after the surgery. The infection is likely to spread to other organs.

Pain and weakness

You may feel initial pain and weakness after the surgery that you felt before. Your body and nerves may take some time to recover.

Unsuccessful fusion

Sometimes, the fusion does not work as expected. This failure is called nonunion. In this condition, you can feel pain because of the motion between two bones.


Plates, screws, rods are used in spinal operations. Sometimes, these metals break or get damaged before the fusion is complete. As a result, another surgery is performed to replace and remove the metal.

Bone migration

In cervical disc surgery, sometimes a bone graft is used in the place of a disc. When this bone moves out of place, the whole spinal structure gets damaged. This may happen just after the surgery.

Apart from these, sometimes patients have developed cervical disc problems in new areas above or below their previously affected area. Though, this has happened to only 12% of patients after 20 years of their first surgery. Other health risks are not yet discovered due to this surgery.

How to recover from a cervical disc surgery?

Service disc surgery can be easily recovered. You can simply get out of the bed and move around, after a few hours of the surgery. The hospital will discharge you on the same day or the next morning. You may feel a slight pain in the operating area for a few days, which will fade away with time.

Recovering from cervical fusion is a long process and may take three to four months or a year. Even after recovering from the surgery, you may feel some pain. Patients usually feel some restrictions in their neck movement after the surgery. Doctors suggest wearing cervical collars in the first six weeks of the surgery. You must exercise daily, eat healthily, and practice good postures to fasten the healing process. Before starting any exercise, always check with your doctor. The Central Texas Spine Institute is one the best places for having cervical disc surgery. The specialists here are committed to heal their patients and help them to get back to their normal life as soon as possible.


These are a few things you must know about cervical disc surgery. The doctors try their best to give you minimal trauma and optimal recovery. Advanced and trusted tools are used here to cure your spinal diseases to get the best results. So, if you want the best spinal surgery, contact the specialists. They will diagnose your condition, evaluate your situation and cure your neck and back issues.

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