Cervical Disc Replacement

For patients with damaged cervical discs, Mobi-C artificial disc surgery may be an alternative to fusion.

Before artificial discs, most often a patient would get an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). In this fusion surgery, the doctor removes the unhealthy disc. The empty disc space is filled with a bone spacer or plastic implant. The implant helps match the disc height to the levels above and below. Restoring the disc height can help remove pressure on the nerves and/or spinal cord. Then, a metal plate with screws is placed on the front of the neck.

The plate helps to keep the spacer in place and stops movement at that level. This helps new bone grow between the vertebrae (fusion).

Cervical Disc Replacement with Mobi-C

Cervical disc replacement surgery is 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 movement, unlike fusion, which limits motion at the surgical site

In a surgery with the Mobi-C Cervical Disc, the unhealthy disc is removed, but instead of a bone spacer or plastic implant along with a plate and screws, a Mobi-C is implanted into the disc space. Where a fusion procedure is intended to eliminate motion at the surgery levels, the goal of a surgery with Mobi-C is to allow motion at those levels.

Both fusion and Mobi-C artificial disc surgery: Replace the damaged disc. Try to match a healthy disc height to help un-trap any nerves.
Only the Mobi-C implant: Tries to maintain neck movement. Fits entirely within the disc space.

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.

Benefits of cervical disc replacement vs. fusion surgery

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.