Patients who are suffering from damage to the discs in their cervical spine have several different options for treatment. At our cervical spine specialty practice in New Jersey, we begin with a conservative approach whenever possible, favoring the use of over-the-counter medications, exercise, physical therapy and other non-invasive approaches before suggesting surgery. When those protocols don’t work and surgery is suggested, there are several options, including cervical disc replacement. According to a presentation at a recent virtual meeting of spine surgeons, a recently developed ceramic disc replacement is showing promise for excellent results.
Cervical disc replacement is a procedure that offers numerous advantages to patients suffering from arm, shoulder and neck pain due to disc herniation or degeneration. It involves the removal of damaged discs and the insertion of a replacement disc to alleviate pressure on the nerves and the pain that accompanies that pressure. Though there are other surgical options available — including anterior cervical discectomy and fusion — cervical disc replacement offers significant advantages, including better range of motion, faster healing times and less pressure on discs in close proximity in the cervical spine.
Though this surgical technique has long been perfected, there are constant improvements being made in the materials from which the artificial discs are fabricated. Among the most promising of these is a ceramic disc replacement specifically created for use in two-level cervical total disc replacement. The PEEK-on-ceramic total disc replacement has recently been the subject of an FDA investigation device exemption study, and that study concluded that its use provided significant lessening of pain and boost in patient range of motion.
In a presentation to the North American Spine Society Annual Meeting, Domagoj Coric, MD said, “Statistically significant increases in disc space height and range of motion with this early data suggest both safety and efficacy for simplified PEEK-on-ceramic total disc replacement for two-level pathology.”
Their conclusions were based on their assessment of several different patient-reported outcomes, including numerical ratings for pain in the neck and right and left arms, as well as in the level of disability in the neck. Coric said that diagnostic imaging studies were also, included in their assessment. “There were also radiographic measures which included baseline measures of disc height, and the range of motion evaluations were conducted at preoperative baseline followed by 6 week, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months after surgery. All radiographs were analyzed by an independent lab. The radiographic results mimic the clinical results in that they were positive as far as showing mean disc heights at both implanted levels increased significantly at all follow-up points compared to preoperative values.”
If you have been suffering from significant pain or a diminishment in range of motion, your road to recovery begins with an assessment by an experienced spine specialist. To set up an appointment with our cervical spine doctor in New Jersey, contact us today.