Easing the Pain in Your Neck


New cervical disc replacement offers relief

When your neck hurts, really hurts, it has a way of affecting your entire life.

“The pain was constant.” “A sharp pain.” “A stinging, burn.” “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.

Now, St. Elizabeth Spine Center in Florence, Kentucky offers a revolutionary new treatment option— cervical disc replacement performed by orthopedic spine surgeon with OrthoCincy Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, John B. Jacquemin, MD who practices at St. Elizabeth Healthcare.

Dr. Jacquemin uses an artificial replacement disc called the Mobi-C, developed by LDR, a global medical device company.

“This implant is unique,” says Dr. 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.”

Disc degeneration causes you pain

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:

  • A bulging (herniated disc)
  • A pinched spinal cord
  • Loss of feeling or movement along the spinal cord
  • Irritated or pinched nerve roots that cause pain, weakness or tingling in the arm and hands

New disc implants—Made with movement in mind

During the new cervical disc replacement surgery, Dr. 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.

A new alternative to disc fusion

For people with deteriorating discs, cervical disc replacement is a new alternative to fusion surgery.

“Previously the treatment for problems with discs was a discectomy, which means removing the unhealthy disc, and a fusion—locking those two bones together,” says Dr. Jacquemin.

Fusion stabilizes your neck and protects the nerves, but there’s a drawback.

“Because it is a fusion and that portion of the spine doesn’t move,” explains Dr. Jacquemin, “it tends to put more wear-and-tear on the surrounding areas to make up for the fact that this part is not moving.”

Artificial disc replacement offers many benefits

People who get the Mobi-C disc replacement may have more ability to move naturally after surgery than people who get fusion.

“We can take away the herniated disc, or take away the pinching of the nerves or of the spinal cord, and then put something back in that allows the vertebrae to continue to move,” explains Dr. Jacquemin.

Cervical disc replacement allows your neck to move more naturally. Thus, it eliminates the potential wear-and-tear common in disc fusion and reduces your risk of other neck problems down the road.

Is cervical disc replacement right for you?

Before considering cervical disc replacement, Dr. Jacquemin uses X-rays and 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.
  • 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.

“We hide the incision in your skin folds, so we don’t see it later on,” explains Dr. Jacquemin.

After surgery at 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 Dr. 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 Dr. Jacquemin, “that frees your mind to enjoy life.”

To make an appointment, call our affiliated orthopaedic surgeons at OrthoCincy Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine at 859-301-BONE (2663).