Risk of Cervical Disc Replacement

While any surgery carries some risk, disk replacement surgery is relatively safe.

But before you have surgery do your research. Talk to your Doctor to see if this surgery is right for you.

Potential risks of cervical spine surgery include:

  • Reactions to the anesthesia
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Nerve injury
  • Spinal fluid leak
  • Voice change
  • Stroke
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Failure to relieve symptoms
  • Broken or loosened artificial disk
  • Need for further surgery

Be sure to discuss any concerns and further issues you may have with your surgeon before any surgical procedure.


Prep for Cervical Disc Replacement

As with any medical procedure, ask your healthcare provider to tell you what you should do before your surgery. Below is a list of some comomon steps that you may be asked to do. Your case is unique so this information may vary.

  • Inform your surgical team about any medications you take at home including herbal supplements and over-the-counter medications. You may be asked to stop taking aspirin or other medications that thin your blood and may increase bleeding
  • Inform your surgical team if you or someone in your family has any history of reaction to general anesthesia.
  • Stop smoking. If you smoke, you will be asked to stop well before the surgery and avoid smoking for a time after surgery 
  • It’s common to hae nothing to eeat or drink after midnight on the night before the procedure. You will receive instructions on when and what you can eat prior to your procedure
  • Before stopping current medication, ask your surgeon if you should take your regular medications with a small sip of water on the day of the procedure


Post cervical disc replacement:


You will likely spend a day or two in the hospital. During your hospital stay you can expect the following:

  • I.V. fluids may be continued until you can drink fluids well by mouth.
  • Once you are able to drink, you will be able to start eating.
  • Continue to take pain medication as needed.
  • Your nurses will check your dressing and help you to get out of bed and go to the bathroom.
  • You may be given a support collar to wear in the hospital.
  • You are encouraged to get out of bed and move around as soon as you are able to.

Recovery and rehabilitation varies for each person, but in general, here’s what you might expect:

  • You may need to continue wearing naeck support.
  • You will be able to eat your normally.
  • You may need to return to your Doctor or hospital to have sutures removed.
  • You will gradually start returning to normal activities. Ask your surgeon about any activity restrictions and when you can go back to your regular routine.
  • You may be required to start physical therapy after a few weeks.
  • After 4 to 6 weeks you should be able to return to full activities by

Call your Doctor right away if you experience any of the following problems:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Bleeding, redness, swelling, or discharge from your incision site
  • Pain that does not respond to pain medication
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Voice change or hoarseness
  • Difficulty breathing

These instructions are by no means complete and are only meant as an overview of what you can expect.