When your neck hurts – really hurts – it has a way of affecting your entire life.
“The pain was constant.”
“My arm went numb.”
“I couldn’t turn my head when driving.”
“I couldn’t sleep.”
These are just a few of the symptoms people report when they have worn-out, damaged discs in their neck.
“This implant is unique,” says Jacquemin. “It has the ability to allow movement in turning and twisting and bending in the neck, much like a knee replacement does in the knee.”
Discs provide a critical cushion between the vertebrae, the bones that make up your cervical spine and support your skull. When a disc degenerates, it loses flexibility and provides less padding for the vertebrae, resulting in potentially painful problems such as a bulging (herniated) disc, pinched spinal cord or pinched nerve roots causing pain, weakness or tingling in the arm and hands.
New disc implants – Made with movement in mind
During the new cervical disc replacement surgery, Jacquemin removes the unhealthy, worn-out disc and inserts the Mobi-C implant between the affected vertebrae.
The Mobi-C implant is about the size of a nickel. It consists of a special plastic insert positioned between two metallic plates. The insert has a rounded top which allows the upper metal plate to slide, as the insert slides and twists on the bottom plate.
The result? The replacement disc moves as you move your neck.
For people with deteriorating discs, cervical disc replacement is a new alternative to fusion surgery, which removes the unhealthy disc and locks the two bones together, protecting the nerves.
But there is a drawback: “Because it is a fusion and that portion of the spine doesn’t move, it tends to put more wear-and-tear on the surrounding areas to make up for the fact that this part is not moving,” explained Jacquemin.
People who get the Mobi-C disc replacement may have more ability to move naturally after surgery than people who get fusion.
Is cervical disc replacement right for you?
Before considering cervical disc replacement, Jacquemin uses x-rays and an MRI to pinpoint the problem.
Good candidates for cervical disc replacement are people who:
- Are age 35 to 65;
- Suffer from pain that significantly affects their work and lifestyle;
- Have only one or two bad discs in their neck; and
- Cannot get relief from conservative treatments (medication, physical therapy and injections).
What to expect during cervical disc replacement
Cervical disc replacement surgery takes about two and a half hours. The incision is a horizontal line, less than two inches long, on the front of your neck.
After surgery at the St. Elizabeth Spine Center, you stay overnight and go home the next day. Initially, only light activity is allowed. Typically, you return to work two to four weeks later.
Our goal for people who have surgery, says Jacquemin, is to eliminate severe pain or reduce it as much as possible.
“If you don’t have to wake up in the morning and worry about how you’re going to get through the day because your neck hurts or your arm hurts,” says Jacquemin, “that frees your mind to enjoy life.”
To make an appointment, call the St. Elizabeth Spine Center at (859) 212-7000 or click the button below to learn more.