The surgeon behind the surgery, Dr. Michael Song, is very excited about this new advancement in neck surgeries. Dr. Song says the patient is excited as well.
"He's excited because he's the sole bread winner in his family, he has a very supportive wife, he's a family man, he's a laborer he works hard and all he wants to do is get fixed and go back to work," says Dr. Song.
Dr. Michael Song sees patients with severe neck pain all the time. Everyday life and work has not been easy for this patient, who we're going to call "Bob" throughout this story.
Bob suffered from severe neck pain everyday, along with shooting pain throughout his arm. Up until this point, patients with Bob's symptoms have only had one option.
"It's a very nice procedure, it allows us to remove the diseased disc and take the pressure of the nerve, take the pressure off the spinal cord and replace the disc with a fusion device. The drawback, however, is patients can lose motion at that level and also have problems down the line," says Dr. Song.
The FDA recently approved a two-level cervical disc replacement, this now means two discs can be replaced in the neck instead of one, giving the patient many benefits.
Few surgeries like this have been done in the country, and this particular on label disc replacement surgery at Saint Mary's is the first of its kind in the region.
"The patient can essentially have his cake and eat it too, have the diseased disc taken out and replaced with a functional unit that can allow motion and decrease the risk of having problems down the line," says Dr. Song.
The recovery time is also much faster for this procedure, normally the patient is out of work for up to three months, but Bob's recovery time is expected to be around three weeks.
"I expect to have the patient to have very quick relief of his arm pain, I think his strength should come back over the next couple of months but more importantly after a couple of weeks he should be back to work," says Dr. Song.
Dr. Song expects to do more of these surgeries in the future, he says the only thing really stopping him from doing it now is insurance companies, because the procedure was just approved by the FDA, the approval time can take longer.
"We like to fight for all of our patients. This is a very unique opportunity, we are excited about it and the patient is also," says Dr. Song.
Bob was released from the hospital the next day and didn't have any neck pain. He also was released without a neck brace.
If you'd like to learn more information about this procedure, you can visit www.cervicaldisc.com