“I’ve read a lot about artificial disc replacement as a first surgical treatment option to restore and help maintain neck movement. However, my cervical spine surgery was a fusion procedure, and now, years after what was a successful surgery, I’m in pain. I’m an avid basketball player, in relatively good health. Am I a candidate for artificial disc replacement?” — Larry, Verona, CA
Almost all the patients who see me in my spinal neurosurgery practice are interested in surgical treatment that will treat their neck pain and allow them to continue their active lifestyles. Some of my patients are professional or elite athletes, and motion preservation surgery (ie, artificial disc replacement) could enable them to continue their careers. Some are proud “weekend warriors” who simply want tear up the golf course whenever they get a chance. Indeed, virtually every one of my patients understands how important maintaining spinal motion is to be healthy and lead an active lifestyle. This is why I am keen to offer artificial disc replacement surgery whenever it is appropriate.