Neck and Back Pain: What Are My Options?

July 12th, 2019

The pain radiates down your left arm. You’ve tried pain medication and physical therapy for a few months, but neither treatment reduces your pain. Surgery appears to be the only answer to cure your aching neck. But do you have an option other than cervical fusion?

The answer is yes. Cervical disc replacement surgery provides an alternative for adults who suffer from sciatica, neck strain or other pain caused by a pinched nerve in your cervical spine. Newer cervical disc replacement techniques can help reduce pain and restore your range of motion, unlike fusion, which limits motion at the surgical site.

At Grand View Health, orthopaedic surgeon Ernest Cope, III, MD, with Upper Bucks Orthopaedics uses the Mobi-C Cervical Disc. Approved by the FDA for use in the United States in August 2013, the Mobi-C consists of two metal plates with a plastic insert in the middle.

“The construction of the Mobi-C disc allows people to twist their neck and slide from left-to-right and front-to-back, simulating normal motion in the cervical spine,” Dr. Cope says.

How Replacement Differs from Fusion

Prior to artificial disc replacement, patients with neck pain that didn’t subside with non-surgical treatments received a procedure called anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ADCF). In this approach, the doctor removes the unhealthy disc and fills the empty space with a bone spacer or plastic implant. That implant helped match the height of the disc to the levels above and below, thereby removing pressure on the nerves and spinal cord.

A surgeon then would install a metal plate with screws at the front of the neck to keep the spacer in place, eliminating motion at the surgery level.

With cervical disc replacement surgery at Grand View Health, the surgeon removes the unhealthy disc and replaces it with the Mobi-C Cervical Disc. This eliminates the need for bone spacers, plastic implants or screws and preserves bone. It also allows you to maintain your natural neck movement.

Mobi-C is designed for adults with one or two damaged discs between C3-C7. You may be eligible if imaging studies show you have a herniated disc or pinched nerve, and if you’ve tried at least six weeks of non-surgical treatments without success.

All surgery carries risk. Talk with your doctor prior to any procedure.

Learn more about cervical disc replacement options at our free seminar, Understanding Neck Pain and Cervical Discs on Tuesday, July 23 at noon. Dr. Cope will discuss advances in surgical techniques. Register now.

To make an appointment at Upper Bucks Orthopaedics at Grand View Health, call 215-257-3700.