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This past July, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first artificial neck disc. The traditional treatment for cervical degenerative disc disease (DDD) is to remove the diseased disc in a patient’s neck and then fuse two or more bony vertebrae.

cervical-disc.gifDegenerative disc disease is a normal part of aging and occurs when our intervertebral discs lose their flexibility and the gel in between them thins, causing neck pain and other symptoms like numbness and tingling in the shoulders and arms. Cervical disc degeneration can also contribute to spinal stenosis and other progressive conditions, as well as more sudden disc herniation.

The newly approved Prestige Cervical Disc can replace the impaired natural disc. After the surgeon removes the impaired disc, the artificial disc is attached to the adjacent vertebrae with bone screws. This new procedure can reduce pain and provide greater motion over the traditional approach.

The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida has just announced that they are using the new artificial disc. They estimate that 30-40% of cervical spine surgeries that would have previously required fusion can now be done with the artificial disc.

Implanting the artificial disc usually takes about 90 minutes and normally requires the patient to spend just one night in the hospital. Patients who have had the surgery returned to work earlier and reported less pain than those patients who underwent fusion.