Cervical artificial disc replacement, or ADR, uses an artificial disc to join selected bones in the cervical spine or neck, replacing a disc which has become damaged. The procedure is also known as arthroplasty.


A cervical artificial disc replacement may be recommended for patients who have had a herniated disc; have suffered from a neck injury from an incident such as an accident at work or a vehicle accident; have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease; are suffering from spinal cord compression; or are suffering from spinal stenosis as a result of arthritis.


Typically, an MRI scan is the most common test to confirm the need for a cervical artificial disc replacement, providing all the information needed. In some cases, a computed tomography (CT) scan or x-ray can be carried out for specific reasons.


If the symptoms detailed above persist and cannot be addressed via any other method, a surgical procedure in the form of a cervical artificial disc replacement is needed.


When the operation commences, an incision is made in the neck’s anterior portion, on either the left or right side. The space can then be entered through the incision, and the damaged disc is able to be removed, along with any fragments or bone spurs which also require removing. Following the completion of this part of the procedure, the artificial disc can then be inserted. Screws are used to secure the artificial disc to the native bone. The incision is then closed and the patient is sent to a recovery room.

After the operation has been completed, the patient typically receives a collar which is designed to help stabilise the neck.


Patients usually require only a one night stay in hospital and would schedule a series of follow-up appointments with their doctor.

Physical therapy makes up an important part of the recovery programme for many patients after a cervical artificial disc replacement. This is designed to improve range of motion and contribute to the overall speed of recovery. Doctors are able to track progress by conducting x-rays on a periodic basis.

After this period of physical therapy, it is usually possible for an individual to return to their normal activities within six weeks. Neck movement can be improved in many cases, as the artificial disc allows the patient to enjoy more neck mobility.