Cervical disc degeneration is a common cause of neck and arm pain that can greatly impact quality of life. The disc is a flexible material between the vertebrae that holds the bones together while still allowing for movement. Because of the demands put on the disc, it sometimes can 'herniate' or wear down causing pain. If treatments, such as rest, medications, physical therapy and activity modification are not successful, the standard surgical treatment is to remove the disc and then use a graft of bone and plate with screws to fuse the two vertebrae together.
According to Dr. Frank Phillips, orthopedic surgeon at Rush and primary investigator for the PCM Artificial Disc trial, spinal fusion is a highly successful operation for relieving symptoms, but there are potential drawbacks over time. The permanent fusion of bone eliminates natural movement between the vertebrae resulting in increased stress on the discs above and below the fusion. This additional pressure may cause excessive wear and tear on the adjacent discs, which may lead to more pain and the need for additional surgery.
"The goal is to find an implant that can simulate the natural function of the cervical disc and restore the physiologic motion of the cervical spine," said Phillips.
The PCM Artificial Cervical Disc combines the use of metal and plastic, the same materials that have been in use for 30 years in hip and knee replacements, to mimic the function of the disc. The implant has two halves: an upper metal (Cobalt Chrome a
Contact: Kim Waterman
Rush University Medical Center