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New Treatment ForHerniated Discs



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New Treatment For

Herniated Discs

Yale-New Haven Hospital has joined 11 other hospitals around the United States, and has become the first New England hospital to participate in a clinical trial of the Pro-disc-C disc replacement arthroplasty treatment for alleviating severe neck and arm pain caused by herniated discs.

The first procedure at Yale-New Haven Hospital was done by James Yue, MD, co-chief of the division of orthopedics at Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale University, on August 6, 2004, on a 34-year-old female from Wallingford.

Until recently, the only treatment for severe incapacitating neck pain has been spinal fusion, a very common procedure performed mostly in the lower lumbar area of the back. Although fusion techniques have offered an acceptable form of pain relief, they are limited in their ability to preserve motion and can cause adjacent discs to degenerate.

The new disc replacement procedure, similar to the lumbar disc replacement arthropasty that was also first performed by Dr Yue at Yale-New Haven Hospital in November 2002, is similar in concept to knee and hip replacement surgery, where the motion of the spine is preserved using the disc replacement technique. Unlike fusion surgery, which necessitates two separate surgeries and several months of immobilization, the disc replacement surgery is a one-stage procedure and requires no postoperative immobilization.

 “Compared to disc fusion, which leaves limited range of motion, can take up to a year to heal, and can cause adjacent discs to wear out, this new procedure typically leaves almost full range of motion, heals within six weeks, and requires only a single incision,” said Dr Yue. “There is much less risk to damage to the surrounding muscles, and there are no screws in the vertebrae. The implants are made of the same material that we traditionally use in other joint surgeries.”

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