Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D., has helped many patients needing cervical total disc replacement surgery in Orange County, CA.
Dr. Smith generally performs this surgery when patients experience persistent neck and/or arm pain, that is caused by two (or more) intervertebral discs in the cervical spine becoming problematic. Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D., has a strong track record of alleviating many patients from the pain that this condition causes, and for providing his patients with long-term solutions, meant to last a lifetime.
Cervical vertebrae are the bones that make up the neck region of the spine. Over time, these discs can become worn and need to be replaced. At Dr. Jeremy Smith M.D., one of our main goals is to provide relief to patients through treatments that also help to retain the natural movement of the spine. One of the best options for treating patients who suffer from pain directly related to injured or degenerative cervical discs is the minimally invasive surgical option of cervical disc replacement.
A cervical total disc replacement surgery is when a worn or degenerating intervertebral disc in the spine is replaced with an artificial disc. A worn disc can cause pain in the neck, back of the head, shoulder, and/or arm that worsens in certain positions – this surgery alleviates that pain. A vertebral disc’s natural purpose is to cushion the neck against stresses and absorb impact. Cervical vertebrae allow you to rotate your head with ease. A cervical disc replacement will, in essence, provide you with a new, stronger disc, that will then allow for improved movement and long-term relief. Artificial discs give strength to the spine and help to restore alignment.
A cervical total disc replacement can be a life-changing improvement for patients who want to maintain mobility in their spine, as discs can wear over time and create stress and pain. A disc replacement creates less stress on the remaining vertebrae in the spine. An artificial disc does not increase the risk of spinal degenerative disc disease in an adjacent level; unlike with fusion surgery, there is no additional “stress” added to the levels above or below the operative site.
Some conditions that may require a cervical total disc replacement include: herniated discs, cervical radiculopathy, and cervical degenerative disc disease, among others. Usually, these conditions occur when an unhealthy disc is present. To learn more about these conditions, visit our page on Cervical Spine Conditions.
Among the multiple benefits of cervical total disc replacement surgery is that it is a great treatment option for patients suffering from chronic neck/arm pain that is not responding to non-surgical therapies. Artificial disc replacement surgery can significantly reduce chronic neck pain in patients while also allowing the spine to retain its natural range of motion.
There are some risks associated with cervical total disc replacement surgery: potential for nerve injury, infection, trouble swallowing, and hoarse voice, among others. Your surgeon will discuss these risks with you ahead of your procedure.
A great surgeon is one who will listen, and who puts the patient first in all ways. This philosophy of compassion is what makes Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D. stand apart from other cervical total disc replacement surgeons. A surgeon who considers the impact that surgery will have on a patient’s mobility is also an important, key quality to seek out in a cervical total disc replacement surgeon.
Before undergoing a cervical total disc replacement surgery, some important things for you to ask and consider are:
How can you prepare yourself ahead of the big day? Ask your doctor ways that you can be proactive in the days leading up to your surgery.
Which PT exercises can you do before that will help strengthen your body and mind?
Which PT exercises can you do after surgery to help you during your recovery process?
During an initial consult for a cervical total disc replacement surgery, your doctor will run a series of tests in order to first determine if this procedure is in fact the best treatment option for your condition. Not everyone is a candidate for total disc replacement. Your doctor will also answer any questions that you may have and additionally, will inform you of any sort of special requirements you may need to address before your surgery.
Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D. has decades of experience in the field. He is not only sought after for his abilities as a surgeon amongst patients, but he is also sought out for his wealth of knowledge among fellow surgeons. Dr. Smith excels in many of his endeavors. At the start of his career, he served as chief resident in his final year of medical school, at the University of California, Irvine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Now, years into a successful practice, Dr. Smith serves as Chief of Spine Surgery at the Hoag Orthopedic Institute.
Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D. stays abreast of new, cutting-edge technological advancements in the field and is excited to bring these options to his patients. During a cervical total disc replacement surgery, Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D., uses instruments that maintain a minimally invasive surgery approach, so that the surgery is less stressful on the patient and a quicker recovery time may be possible.
Provide advice on how best to prepare for a cervical disc replacement, including:
Are there lifestyle changes recommended before surgery?
Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D., recommends that patients continue to eat healthily and maintain a regular exercise routine, leading up to the surgery. Preparing the body by making healthy choices is the best support a patient can actively pursue in the days and weeks leading up to surgery.
Who is the best candidate for cervical total disc replacement?
Patients who have had little luck with pain relief from non-surgical treatments may be excellent candidates for total disc replacement surgery. Others who suffer from pain directly related to herniated discs, and/or have a degenerative disc disease, may also be candidates for this procedure.
What are the best questions to ask a spinal surgeon about cervical disc replacement?
Some of the best questions to ask a spinal surgeon about cervical disc replacement are:
How long do the discs generally last?
Is there physical therapy I can do to continue to strengthen my spine?
What will recovery from this surgery involve?
Will I have certain movement restrictions after this surgery?
How long does a cervical total disc replacement surgery typically take?
Typically, a cervical total disc replacement surgery takes 1-2 hours. The recovery time after surgery can vary from patient to patient; however, most patients are able to return to light activities and desk work, while using ergonomic posture protocols, within one week.
How long is the hospital stay following a cervical total disc replacement?
Typically, a hospital stay is not necessary after this minimally invasive surgery. However, Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D. and his team monitor patients for several hours after a total disc replacement surgery and patients are scheduled for multiple follow-up appointments in the weeks following the procedure.
What is the home recovery timeline for a cervical total disc replacement surgery?
Typically, Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D., advises patients that their recovery time after surgery can be anywhere between 6 to 12 weeks before they are able to return to their normal activities.
Do you need physical therapy after cervical disc replacement?
Physical therapy is an important part of recovery after a cervical disc replacement surgery. At Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D., we provide our patients with a series of educational videos on the spine as well as physical therapy exercises that are right for you and your specific post-op recovery.
How soon can you walk following a cervical disc replacement?
Dr. Jeremy Smith, M.D., encourages all patients to walk as soon as possible post-surgery. This keeps the body from forming blood clots, increases blood flow, and improves muscle strength. Patients are however on certain other restrictions – ask your surgeon for specific details during your post-op appointment.
Is a cervical total disc replacement considered major surgery?
While Cervical disc replacement is considered major surgery, it is also a minimally invasive surgery - meaning, it can be completed in a shorter amount of time and with less cutting of soft tissues than other major surgery, and it usually does not require an overnight hospital stay.
How much does it typically cost to undergo a cervical disc replacement?
The cost for this surgery (and associated anesthesia) can be anywhere between $30,000 to $50,000 and upwards. However, most insurance companies offer coverage for this procedure. Ask your insurance provider and doctor which payment options are best for you. Our billing department is available for any specific questions you may have.
How long does a cervical total disc replacement last?
Cervical disc replacement surgery can last 10 or more years. A new disc will provide pain relief and give stability to your spine - ask your doctor for more information on what to expect from your new disc and future pain management.
Is a cervical total disc replacement covered by health insurance?
Cervical disc replacement surgery is covered under most health insurance policies. Some policies offer “bundle” payments and other payment plans. Your insurance provider will have specific answers about the best options for you under your current coverage plan.
Cervical total disc replacement vs. spinal fusion?
Cervical disc replacement surgery allows for greater long-term mobility in the spine than spinal fusion. A fusion welds the vertebral bones together and therefore causes some limited mobility in the spine. The choice of surgery is highly patient-specific. Your doctor will discuss if a total disc replacement versus a spinal fusion is the best choice for your particular case.