life is full of motion neck & back surgery should be as well

What is motion preservation?

Most people have heard of having a knee or hip replaced.  Motion preservation in the neck or back includes a similar process of replacing a disc in your neck or back instead of fusing that area.

What does motion preservation surgery involve?

There are different procedures that can be used to preserve motion in your neck and back.  Most include placing an implant in your neck or back that mimics how your disc works.   

Is motion preservation surgery safe?

Motion preservation surgery is very similar in safety to the fusion surgeries that are commonly performed.  Motion preservation surgery like all surgeries carry risks that you have to consider.

How is a fusion surgery different?

Fusion surgeries often include removing a disc in the neck or back and replacing that disc with a device or donated bone to help bone grow where the disc was.  Plates, screws, and rods are often added to ensure the bone grows resulting in a fusion which limits motion.  There are many different kinds of fusion surgeries and often surgeons and hospitals use terms such as minimally invasive, robotic, laser, anterior approach, lateral approach and a long list of other terms to describe what ultimately is a fusion.  The same terms such as minimally invasive often also apply to motion preservation surgery.

Is everyone a good candidate?

Unfortunately the answer is no.  There are various reasons why you might not be a good candidate for a motion preservation procedure.  That is why it is important to see a surgeon that has been trained in motion preservation surgery so that he or she can decide and help you make the right decision for you.  If a surgeon dismisses the idea quickly, you should question why.  If they say you are not a good candidate, there is a lot of information available to educate yourself to see if the surgeon's reasons make sense.  You might feel bad questioning your surgeon, but if you don't who will?  You have to live with the results of your surgery.

Why don't all surgeons offer?

There are many reasons why a surgeon may not even discuss as an option.  It may be because he or she is not trained.  The surgeon may actually be paid more to perform a fusion and therefore makes a financial decision.  Your insurance company may make it harder for the surgery to be approved and the surgeon may not want staff taking the extra time to approve.  It is also very possible that your surgeon believes you will do better with a fusion.  If that is the case you just want be sure your surgeon did consider both options and we can help with information so you can find a surgeon that is highly skilled in both options.



The image on the left shows a motion preservation surgery of the neck where artificial disc implants replaced the discs.  The image on the right shows a neck fusion surgery where the discs were removed and implants designed for fusion were used.  In the fusion surgery, motion is limited compared to the artificial disc surgery.  To see a video animation of artificial disc replacement in the neck please click the yellow button below.  Motion preservation vs fusion for back surgery is very similar to the neck so whether you are interested in information regarding the neck or back, it applies to both.  Once you have watched the video, revisit so we can provide you with first hand information in your local community.