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Spine Institute
Glendale Adventist Medical Center
1500 E. Chevy Chase Drive, Suite 401B
Glendale, CA 91206
Ph: (818) 863-4444

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Artificial Disc Replacement for Cervical Spine

Posted on: 07/12/2005
Cervical spine (neck) fusion is the standard surgical treatment for severe neck pain and joint stiffness. The operation works well enough but there are some problems. New technology has made it possible to use a disc replacement in the cervical spine. This study reports the results of early trials using the ProDisc-C implant.

Sixteen patients with severe neck pain from degenerative disc disease were included. Some patients also had pain going down the arm. Others had signs of spinal cord compression such as numbness, tingling, and weakness. The disc was removed from one or two levels and the ProDisc-C inserted in the disc space.

Patients were questioned about pain levels, analgesic use for pain, and overall satisfaction during the first year after the operation. Pain was measured based on intensity and frequency. Before and after X-rays were also taken.

The researchers asked three questions:

  • Was there a big change from before to three weeks after the surgery?
  • Was the change still present after one year?
  • Were there ongoing changes from three weeks to 12 months?

    The results showed:
  • Disability: Decreased disability and improved function occurred during the first three weeks.
  • Range of motion: No change was noted in the first three weeks, but increased motion was measured between three weeks and 12 months.
  • Pain: Decreased pain was recorded in the first three weeks. A slight increase was
    measured between 3 weeks and 12 months. The pain returned to the lower level present
    during the first three weeks.
  • Arm pain: Decreased arm pain was reported at 3 weeks for those patients who had
    radiating arm pain. The reduced pain levels continued at 12 months.
  • Drug use: The use of antiinflammatories, narcotics, and other pain relievers
  • Disc: Both the disc height and disc motion were improved. There were no fusions, fractures, or loose implants.

    The authors conclude that this early study on a small number of patients shows the ProDisc-C device is safe and effective. Disc implant may replace neck fusion if the long-term results are equally good.

  • References:
    Rudolf Bertagnoli, MD, et al. Early Results After ProDisc-C Cervical Disc Replacement. In Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine. April 2005. Vol. 2. Pp. 403-410.

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