Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Back Pain Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Artificial Disc May Relieve Neck, Arm Pain

Metal-on-Metal Disc May Relieve Degenerative Cervical Disc Disease
By
WebMD Health News

March 19, 2004 -- A new type of artificial implant may help relieve the neck and arm pain caused by degenerative cervical disc disease and allow free movement of the neck.

New research suggests that a metal-on-metal artificial cervical disc may serve as an effective alternative to spinal fusion for people with the common condition.

Researchers say more than half of people over 40 have cervical disc disease, which is caused by degenerative changes in the bones of the upper neck. The disease leads to symptoms such as neck pain, pain that radiates down the arm, and numbness. This persistent pain also can cause sleeping problems.

The most common from of surgical treatment for the symptoms caused by degenerative cervical disc disease is cervical fusion, which clears away injured or degenerative disc. During this procedure, bone from the hip is grafted onto the area and left to heal with a covered rigid plate. This ultimately limits movement in the neck.

If further studies show that the artificial device is safe and effective in stabilizing the neck bones, it will help reduce the need for cervical fusion.

Artificial Cervical Disc Eases Pain

In the study, researchers evaluated the mechanical stability of the Prestige Artificial Cervical Disc. The device consists of two stainless steel parts that are surgically attached with screws to adjacent spinal bones in the neck .

"The prosthesis simulates the function of a natural cervical [neck] disc," says researcher Russ P. Nockels, associate professor at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, in Maywood, Ill., in a news release.

Researchers tested the disc prosthesis in the lab and found it was able to withstand extreme forces without becoming displaced.

"The disc is strong enough to withstand sudden movement and support the head," says Nockels. "Patients are able to move their head up and down, and from side to side."

In addition, researchers say that several artificial cervical disc recipients involved in clinical trials of the device have been involved in serious motor vehicle accidents, and X-rays of these patients showed the device continued to function normally. But this evidence is only anecdotal, and further research is required before the artificial cervical disc can be approved for use by the FDA.

The study was funded by the device's manufacturer, Medtronic Sofamor Danek, which is a WebMD sponsor.

Today on WebMD

Woman holding lower back
Or is it another form of back pain?
Hand on back
See the myths vs. the facts.
 
Woman doing pilates
Good and bad exercises.
acupuncture needles in woman's back
Use it to manage your pain.
 
Man with enhanced spinal column, rear view
Video
pain in brain and nerves
Slideshow
 
Chronic Pain Healtcheck
Health Check
break at desk
Article
 
Woman holding lower back
Slideshow
Weight Loss Surgery
Slideshow
 
lumbar spine
Slideshow
back pain
Article