Artificial Disc Replacement

Lakeland HealthCare is the first healthcare facility in southwest Michigan to offer artificial disc replacement, a new surgical option for the treatment of herniated disc in the neck. Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July of 2007, the Prestige Cervical Disc, manufactured by Medtronic, features a stainless-steel, balland- trough configuration designed to permit motion at the treated level after being inserted in a patient’s cervical spine.

The traditional method for treating degenerative conditions in the cervical spine -- anterior cervical decompression with fusion -- uses bone grafts or hardware to fuse two or more adjacent vertebrae to stabilize the spinal segments and provide pain relief. However, spinal fusion results in a loss of motion and flexibility in the treated vertebral segment. “In 10-20% of patients treated with spinal fusion, this additional stress leads to degenerative disease in adjacent vertebral levels,” said Christian Sikorski, MD, of Lake Michigan Neurosurgery.

Adjacent level disease is a particularly important consideration for younger patients with a herniated disc, as it could result in additional surgeries to treat the condition years later. Artificial disc replacement, which maintains motion within the disc space, reduces long-term risks for these younger patients. “Artificial disc replacement is an emerging surgical option. Studies are underway to confirm the most appropriate patient selection,” said Dr. Sikorski. “Initial studies of artificial
disc replacement surgery support the benefits in younger patients.

Dr. Sikorski introduced the artificial disc replacement procedure to southwest Michigan patients in early 2008, with excellent early and very promising long-term results. One drawback to artificial disc replacement is the limitation of future MRI evaluation. However, Dr. Sikorski believes the procedure’s benefits outweigh this negative.

“We have been very pleased with the rate of success in patients who have undergone artificial disc replacement, and in their response to the procedure. For younger patients affected by the pain of a herniated disc, artificial disc replacement offers new hope for improved quality of life,” said Dr. Sikorski.

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