One relatively new treatment for cervical disc disease is disc arthroplasty — the complete replacement of a damaged disc with an artificial replacement. Although fairly common in Europe since the 1990s, this treatment was only authorized by the FDA in the United States within the last decade.
This treatment option tends to provide better spinal mobility than fusion, since it completely replaces the disc rather than merely removing the disc and fusing the adjacent bones together. Since it is a relatively new treatment, however, there are still some questions as to the durability of the artificial discs and whether they will last through the patient’s lifetime or will require future replacement.
A very recently FDA-approved procedure is the two-level cervical disc replacement. An early trial showed success rates using the two-level cervical disc replacement 70% compared to fusion showing results of 37%. Those who received the two-level cervical disc replacement during the trial phase returned to work three weeks sooner compared to those.