The disc is soft material placed between two vertebrae, which serves as a cushion and permits mobility of the neck.
The patient has arm and neck pain. The first line of treatment is rest, pain relief medication, physiotherapy and a soft cervical collar. This simple treatment is effective in the vast majority of cases. Surgery for cervical disc prolapse is done in a setting of neck and arm pain (called radiculopathy) which has proved unresponsive to pain relief medicine, and physiotherapy, or if the patient has loss of function or weakness or in extreme cases paralysis of the muscles of the arm. The surgical options are to remove the part of the disc that is pressing on the nerve root, and replace it with a piece of bone that is harvested from the pelvis and which is then secured with plate and screws. This technique is referred to as fusion. The second surgical option is to remove the offending disc and use an artificial disc, instead of graft, plate and screws. It must be stated that both techniques are highly effective as a cure for neck and arm pain. The focus of this article is cervical disc replacement.