A new study in Spine journal suggests that patients who receive an artificial disc replacement in their neck may do as well as, if not better than, those who undergo spinal fusion surgery.
Spinal fusion has long been used to treat people who have ruptured a disc between two of their vertebrae.
However, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have found that patients who received an artificial disc retained more movement in their neck and recovered faster than those who had the bones of their spine fused.
The team gave artificial discs to 242 patients, while 221 had spinal fusion surgery.
Surgery was deemed to be successful in 83 per cent of artificial disc recipients, compared with just 73 per cent of those who underwent spinal fusion.
Dr K Daniel Riew, a cervical spine surgeon at Washington University Orthopaedics and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, revealed: "Those who received the artificial disc either did equally as well or a little bit better than those who had fusion surgery.
"One of the most important findings was that people who got the artificial disc were able to preserve all of their motion."
Surgeons at the University of Leeds have also carried out research on artificial disc replacements, which have been approved by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice).