MedStar Georgetown First in Washington, D.C. to Perform Two Level Artificial Disc Replacement in the Cervical Spine

MedStar Georgetown University Hospital became the first center in Washington, D.C. today to perform a two level artificial disc replacement in a patient’s neck. The hour and a half operation was performed on a 44 year-old Fairfax woman who has suffered with numbness in her arms and severe daily headaches after a car accident in 2007 caused herniated discs in her cervical spine.

February 27, 2014

New “Mobi-C” Device is Alternative to Spinal Fusion; Easier on Patients

Washington, D.C. – February 27, 2014MedStar Georgetown University Hospital became the first center in Washington, D.C. today to perform a two level artificial disc replacement in a patient’s neck. The hour and a half operation was performed on a 44 year-old Fairfax woman who has suffered with numbness in her arms and severe daily headaches after a car accident in 2007 caused herniated discs in her cervical spine.

Two Level Artificial Disc Replacement in the Cervical SpineThe woman received an implantable device called the Mobi-C© artificial cervical disc, FDA approved as an alternative to spinal fusion. The purpose of the Mobi-C is to restore disc height and natural segmental motion in the neck.

“This is a new technology that will clearly change the way we do cervical spine surgery in the future,” said Faheem Sandhu, MD, director of Spine Surgery and a neurosurgeon at MedStar Georgetown specially trained in minimally invasive spine surgery.

“This patient wanted to avoid fusion at all costs. She’s a young mother with an active life and wanted an end to her daily pain while preserving as much of her normal neck motion as possible.”

“To perform this operation I make a two centimeter incision in the front of the neck and remove the herniated discs,” said Dr. Sandhu. “Then, instead of implanting a bone graft, screws and plate to fuse the bones together, I implant the Mobi-C. This allows me to replace two disc levels at once without a fusion. What it gives the patient is more fluidity of movement in the neck, less post-operative pain and a quicker return to normal activities.”

“Mobi-C” DeviceDr. Sandhu says that studies show the Mobi-C also helps prevent future surgeries in fusion patients due to the additional stress fusion causes to adjacent discs above and below the fusion site.

“The patients also recover faster because they don’t have to wait for the bone to fuse to the graft. They wake up and can move their neck right away. I usually restrict their activity somewhat for about two months, but after that they can go back to their normal activities, including sports and workouts.“

Dr. Sandhu says the Mobi-C is not for everyone. It’s not recommended in patients with more than two levels of disease or who have bone spurs or a curved spine. Patients over the age of 55 should also be very carefully evaluated for the Mobi-C according to Dr. Sandhu because the spine changes significantly in older people.

Each Mobi-C device comes in three pieces made of cobalt chromium and titanium with a plastic core made to rotate and mimic natural motion of the cervical spine. Mobi-C is the first and only cervical disc approved for use at two contiguous levels of the spine.

Patients can go home the day after surgery and are encouraged to move their neck normally.

“I’ve been encouraged that my experience with Mobi-C has paralleled the literature that reports patients have more immediate pain relief than those who have fusion,” said Dr. Sandhu. “They do well and are very satisfied with their choice.”