Pain and Disability due to disc disease in the neck is a serious problem and now there is a new and better option for some patients. There are approximately 1.1 Million patients each year in the U.S. that suffer from symptomatic cervical disc disease. Disc problems in the neck can lead to neck pain, arm pain, arm weakness and/or loss of function in the hands. This condition can significantly affect a person’s ability to sleep, work, drive, and many other critical functions of daily life.

Since the 1960’s the treatment of choice when conservative measures have failed has been neck fusion surgery- or cervical fusion.  However, thanks to new technology and rigorous clinical studies – patients now have another option and it is available in Nashville at Elite Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center. Dr. Chris Glattes and Dr. Colin Crosby at Elite are performing this new state of the art procedure: the artificial cervical disc replacement.

An artificial disc is designed to replace the damaged disc in the neck and maintain the normal biomechanics of the spine in the neck.  The artificial cervical disc has demonstrated certain clear advantages over fusion for certain patients. The advantages include a shorter surgery without any screws or hardware, a quicker recovery, and preservation of natural range of motion in the neck. One of the concerns with a spinal fusion is that when a spinal fusion is done the spinal levels adjacent to the fusion (IE- the level above and the level below the fusion) are eventually compromised. They become “over stressed” and we see joint degeneration after the fusion since there is no longer any movement the area above or below it. This leads to an increased risk of needing subsequent surgeries in the spine as time goes on. We do not have this issue with artificial cervical disc replacement since the spine is not fused and range of motion is maintained.

“Although there will still be patients that will need to have a cervical fusion I believe in maintaining the natural motion of the cervical spine with a disc replacement or other option whenever possible” said Dr. Crosby.

Dr. Crosby and Dr. Glattes at Elite are both using the only artificial cervical disc technology currently available that can be used on up to two levels in the cervical spine, and the only technology that maintains the natural multi-planar range of motion. The clinical data supports many positive outcomes with this surgery over a cervical fusion including that patients are able to maintain their neck motion, have less adjacent segment degeneration, less re-operations, and a faster recovery and return to activities when compared to a cervical fusion.

Dr. Glattes speaks to recovery time in saying, “the data shows that patients are able to return to work almost 3 weeks faster than a traditional fusion. And whether they are a serious athlete or just trying to return to the activities of daily life a quick recovery is so important for my patients.”

This and other advancements in orthopaedics and sports medicine are exciting and the physicians and staff at Elite Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center are committed tosetting the standard of care for spine and for all our other orthopaedic sub-specialties and sports medicine.

To Schedule an Appointment Please Call us at 615-324-1600.