Minimally-Invasive Spine Surgeon

Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement

Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement (ADR) is a surgical procedure in which one or more of the cervical discs is removed through an incision in the front of your neck. The disc is replaced with a device that holds the disc-space open and allows the bones to continue to move. To learn more, visit

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If You Have Decided to Have Surgery:

  • Call Dr. Jeffords’ staff to schedule your surgery date and the date for your pre-operative consultation.
  • At your pre-operative consultation Dr. Jeffords or his staff will discuss the procedure with you, answer any questions you may have, and have you sign a consent form for surgery.
  • You will be given prescriptions for pain medicine and instructions for post-operative care.
  • Your pre-operative evaluation at the hospital will be scheduled on the same day as your pre-operative consultation. You may have a chest X-ray, EKG, and blood-work performed.
  • You may be asked to have a neurological or psychological evaluation prior to surgery.
  • If you take aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications daily, STOP these medications at least 7 days before your surgery.
  • If you are a smoker you should make every effort to stop smoking as soon as you can before surgery (at least 2 weeks prior to surgery). You should not smoke for at least 6 weeks after surgery.
  • You will check into the hospital the morning of surgery.

Surgical Procedure

  • Your anesthesiologist will bring you to the operating room and put you to sleep for the operation.
  • There are usually two nurses in the room and a certified surgical assistant that assists Dr. Jeffords with the operation (usually his physician assistant).
  • A small horizontal incision (usually about one inch) is made on the front of your neck, usually just to the left of your “Adam’s apple”.
  • After carefully moving the muscle tissue, retractors are placed to expose the front of the spine.
  • The disc is then removed from between the bones and any herniated disc material or bone spurs are pulled away from the nerves and spinal cord, relieving the pressure.
  • Dr. Jeffords will then prepare the disc space for the implant which is positioned in-between the bones.
  • The device is held in place by a metal fin, friction between the device and the bone, and by tension across the disc-space created by the ligaments.
  • The incision is closed with resorbable stitches that are placed beneath the skin.
  • The surgery will take approximately 2 hours if one disc is being inserted. About one hour is needed for each additional disc.

After Surgery:

  • You will be taken to the recovery room and stay there for about 1-1 ½ hours. Afterwards you will be discharged, or if you are being admitted, taken to your hospital room where you can visit with your family.
  • Dr. Jeffords will speak to your family while you are in the recovery room.
  • You may be given a PCA pain-pump which is a machine that you are able to control to help alleviate any post-surgical pain. The following morning you will be switched from this to oral pain pills.
  • The nurses will get you out of bed shortly after surgery and the physical therapists will work with you to ensure that you are strong enough to walk and climb stairs.
  • The surgical dressing will be changed and the small drain removed the morning after surgery. The dressing will stay on until you see Dr Jeffords in the office two weeks after surgery. You may shower over the dressing.
  • Most patients go home the morning after surgery. Occasionally patients may stay an extra day.
  • You will be able to ride in a car or plane upon leaving the hospital.

After Going Home:

  • You will be given pain medication and a muscle relaxant to help control post-operative pain and spasms. Make sure you do not drive or operate heavy machinery while on the medication.
  • You will have a post-operative office visit with Dr. Jeffords 2 weeks after surgery.
  • You will need to wear the soft cervical collar at all times (except for showering) for the first 2 weeks.
  • You may drive after two weeks once you are out of the collar and off of your medications.
  • You can expect to return to sedentary office or desk work approximately 1-2 weeks after surgery.
  • If you perform manual labor that requires heavy lifting or frequent bending or climbing you should wait 3 months before returning to this activity. You can return to moderate duty at 4-6 weeks.
  • Dr. Jeffords will see you again 6weeks after surgery and also at 3 and 6 months post-op.
  • You will start a rehabilitation program with the physical therapist 6 weeks after surgery.
  • Sports activities such as golf or tennis may be resumed at 3 months.

Potential Risks and Complications:

  • Temporary difficulty swallowing (common but not usually severe)
  • Temporary hoarseness (1%)
  • Bleeding or infection (very rare)
  • Damage to the trachea or esophagus (extremely rare)
  • Nerve root or spinal cord damage (about 1 in 10,000 chance)
  • Loosening or shifting of the implant (1%)
  • Failure of the device from wear (may last 20-30 years)
  • Possible need for future surgery (at same disc or other discs)

“Being an olympic athlete, I’ve worked with the best doctors around. The staff at Resurgens is second to none.”

-Dr. Jeffords patient, Darrick Heath

“My whole pregnancy and delivery went very well, but I couldn't have done it without first having the surgery.”

-Dr. Jeffords patient, Laura Alvis

“Before the back surgery, back pain limited me to canoeing only about eight miles. Now, that distance is just a warm-up.”

-Dr. Jeffords patient, Larry Castillo

“When I went to Dr. Jeffords, the second I met him, I knew right away this was the guy to do the surgery.”

-Dr. Jeffords patient, David deBoisblanc

“It was supposed to be a six-month recovery, but I had an MRI 12 weeks to the day after my surgery; my back was completely healed.”

-Dr. Jeffords patient, Brittany Marshall