Degenerative disc disease is endemic in our society. Genetic and environmental factors as well as today’s lifestyle have a decisive influence on the premature aging process of the disc.
The vertebral levels normally involved are those located at the last cervical and lumbar segments. The orientation shift at the lateral plane of the spine at those levels and the transition from a mobile region to a static region of the spine originate a significant load concentration upon the intervertebral disc that can result in its degradation.
In the cervical spine this pathology normally appears at the spine levels located either between the sixth and the seventh or the fifth and the sixth vertebrae.
If pain persists and medical and physical therapy seem to have failed, the best option is the replacement of the disc with a static or mobile implant depending on the patient’s age.
The surgery is performed through a mini-incision at the anterior aspect of the neck. From there and under intraoperative fluoroscopic control, the disc is removed and replaced with a specific implant adapted to the size of the patient’s disc (Images 1 and 2).
Patients can be discharged between twenty-four to forty-eight hours after surgery. Normally they do not need a neck brace and they can resume their daily activities between four to eight weeks after surgery if they are recovering adequately.