Newer Hope for Disc Herniation Sufferers
Herniated discs in the neck cause more than 200,000 Americans to undergo neck surgery every year to alleviate pain and muscle weakness. A team of neurosurgeons from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and several other medical centers recently reported that a newer type of surgery-arthroplasty-for cervical disc injuries may restore range of motion and reduce repeat surgeries in some younger patients. The results do not suggest that the older surgery is ineffective or unsafe, but that arthroplasty is a viable option for some.
For decades, the typical neck surgery for herniated discs was a procedure called anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. In this surgery, a surgeon cuts through the front of the neck, accessing the spine and removing the herniated disc, then replacing it with a piece of bone and a plate in the neck. That creates a solid union – or fusion – between two or more vertebrae to strengthen the spine. In the arthroplasty procedure, the herniated disc is removed, but instead of fusing the spine, the surgeon replaces the missing disc with an artificial one made of steel, plastic or titanium. The idea is that the artificial disc will provide more spine mobility after surgery and less stress on adjacent discs.
While arthroplasty has become more widely used in the United States since the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approved several models of artificial discs in the last few years, it is still performed less often than in Europe, where the procedure has been available for more than a decade.
If you or a loved one is suffering from a disc herniation, talk to your doctor about the possibilities of an arthroplasty.
Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes, P.A. has represented those suffering from disc herniations caused by automobile accidents, motorcycle crashes, slip and fall cases, workers’ compensation injuries and other personal injuries since 1955. As one of the oldest personal injury law firms in the Tampa Bay area, the attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes are here to help you and your family.