Regis W. Haid, Jr., MD, Spine Surgeon

Atlanta, Georgia
(404) 350-0106

Cervical Disc Replacement vs. Cervical Fusion

A cervical artificial disc is designed to replace an intervertebral disc damaged by neck disorders such as degenerative disc disease or disc herniation. Cervical disc replacement surgery (cervical arthroplasty) may be an option to spinal fusion in carefully selected patients. Dr. Haid is the co-developer of the first artificial cervical disc approved for use in the United States. He is also the developer of TWO methods of cervical fusion which are widely used throughout the world.

Regis W. Haid, Jr. MD


Dr. Haid is uniquely qualified to guide patients through the decision process.

What is the difference between Fusion and an Artificial Disc?

  • Spinal fusion fuses together or permanently joins two vertebral bodies. This eliminates movement at that level.

  • An artificial cervical disc is intended to retain movement by simulating the properties of the human intervertebral disc. It is also believed that disc replacement protects other discs by sharing the stress during movement. An artificial cervical disc stabilizes the cervical spine, while maintaining mobility. In addition, lost disc height is restored.

There are different artificial disc designs. The composition of different artificial discs includes hard (metal) and soft (nonmetal) materials.

An artificial disc replaces the entire intervertebral disc- the annulus fibrosis, nucleus pulposus, and usually the endplates, depending on the type of device.

When Spine Surgery May Be Recommended
Most patients with cervical problems do not require spine surgery..., either fusion or an artificial disc. Dr. Haid may recommend cervical spine surgery when:

  • Nonsurgical treatments do not help eliminate pain and other symptoms. Nonsurgical treatments for cervical problems include medication, spinal injections, and physical therapy.
  • Your Neurological symptoms are progressing, or they involve the arms and/or legs. Symptoms include numbness, tingling, and/or weakness.
  • You are experiencing problems with your balance and/or have trouble walking.
  • Your general health is good enough to sustain surgery.

Patient Selection is Important
Cervical artificial discs are not appropriate treatment for all spinal disorders or patients. Dr. Haid's diagnosis and assessment will address the appropriate choice for you. If an artificial disc is a good choice for you, Dr. Haid will explain the type of device to be implanted. Along with information about the artificial disc, you will learn about the benefits and risks of the device and procedure. For example, current designs are only approved for use at a single level in the cervical spine when the facet joints and spinal contour is normal.

Dr. Haid's experience in the area of cervical disease is unexcelled. If you want to learn more about Dr. Haid's contribution to cervical spine surgery, you may wish to visit the Patents and Innovations area of this website.

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