Neck Surgery Treatment Options

surgical options for treating damaged cervical discs

Physical therapy and medication often provide relief from symptoms caused by damaged cervical discs. If you’re not getting enough relief, you may need neck surgery.

There are different surgical techniques for treating cervical disc degeneration or herniation: cervical fusion and cervical disc replacement.


A common surgical option for treating cervical disc degeneration is cervical fusion surgery. With cervical fusion, the surgeon removes the disc, inserts a plate and interbody, and fuses the area between two or more vertebrae. Spinal fusion will reduce your flexibility and range of motion, but may relieve your pain and symptoms.


With this option, the neck surgeon replaces the deteriorated disc with an artificial disc instead of a spacer and does not fuse the vertebrae. Cervical disc replacement may relieve symptoms while allowing you to maintain your range of motion. 


With either cervical fusion or cervical disc replacement, incisions are made in the front of the neck. This area of the neck usually heals very well.


Your doctor will take into account your overall health in evaluating the potential benefits, risks, and complications of neck surgery. Learn about your cervical surgery options so you can consider them thoughtfully. In addition:

  • Have an educated, frank discussion with your doctor or multiple doctors
  • Understand the potential benefits and risks
  • Evaluate your physical condition and mental attitude
  • Set realistic goals

Need help finding a neck surgeon who can answer your questions? Use our Find a Specialist tool to find a surgeon near you.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.