Used with permission, copyright Zimmer Biomet
The cervical spine has discs between each bone that provide cushioning for movements and body loads. The discs and bones in a healthy neck allow bending from side-to-side and front-to-back, and turning left-to-right. Disc problems can start from over-use, an accident, or just the wear and tear of daily life. Degenerative changes in the discs may result in damage that can cause pain. When a disc degenerates it can have tears or cracks that lose water, which cause it to become thinner and provide less padding to absorb movement. Degenerated discs can also bulge (herniate) and pinch the spinal cord or nerves, which causes loss of feeling, weakness, pain, or tingling down the arms and hands.
Before artificial discs were available, patients would traditionally receive an Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion (ACDF) procedure to alleviate the pain from a herniated disc. In a fusion surgery, the disc is removed and either a bone spacer or a plastic implant will be placed in the disc space to restore disc height and remove pressure on the pinched nerves or spinal cord. A metal plate and screws can be placed on the front of the neck to hold the implant in place. The result of this procedure will be a segment that no longer moves, or is “fused”. The potential downside of a fusion procedure, in addition to the loss of motion, is that it can create additional stress on the spinal levels above and below it. This can cause degeneration at those levels and potentially result in another future surgery.
Mobi-C images used with permission, copyright Zimmer Biomet
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