Bucks County Herald

St. Mary performs new disc
replacement surgery

An orthopedic surgeon at St. Mary Medical Center is now performing cervical disc replacements utilizing an innovative medical device, the Mobi-C Cervical Disc.

The device replaces diseased discs in the neck and is designed to maintain motion.

Disc replacement represents a new spectrum of treatments for patients suffering from degenerative discs. The artificial disc can be placed inside the disc space to restore height and remove pressure on the pinched nerves to relieve pain while retaining motion. Traditionally, such patients would have received fusion surgery, which reduces pain by physically joining two vertebrae together and eliminating motion in the painful segment.

“Disc replacement surgery is an important advancement in spinal surgery,” said Dr. Steven Cairone, a St. Mary orthopedic surgeon who specializes in spine and neck surgery. “Not only does the replacement disc preserve the natural movement of the spine, but the procedure is easier on patients and the recovery time is quicker.”

Non-operative treatment options for individuals with neck and back pain include rest, heat, pain medication and physical therapy. For patients whose pains and symptoms are not relieved by conservative treatment, surgery may recommend.

Until now, the most current surgical options for spinal disease include decompressive surgery, and decompression with fusion. The potential downside of a fusion procedure, in addition to the loss of motion, is that the metal plate and screws used to hold a spacer implant in place can create additional stress and accelerate degeneration on the vertebrae and discs adjacent to the disc operated on in the months and years following surgery which sometimes leads to additional surgeries.

The Mobi-C disc replacement device, which consists of two metal endplates and a plastic mobile core, does not need invasive fixation features and uses a bone-sparing fixation technique to potentially prevent the adjacent vertebrae and discs from degenerating, and possibly prevent the need for future surgeries.

Dr. Cairone, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who completed a fellowship training in spine surgery from the University of Pennsylvania, has received formal training in the indications and surgical technique for disc replacement surgery. He notes that patients with degenerative disc disease must be clinically evaluated for disc replacement surgery and that the procedure is not the best option for everyone.


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