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MedWatch- Improving mobility with Mobi-C cervical disc replacement

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LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Numbness, tingling, and weakness in your arm or hand may mean you have a problem with a herniated disc in your neck. But now thanks to a relatively new surgery, doctors can treat it without taking away any of your mobility. Doctors say the Mobi-C cervical disc replacement surgery could change your quality of life and Comanche County Memorial Hospital has the only doctor in Southwest Oklahoma certified to do it.

Disc problems can start from over-use, an accident, or just the wear and tear of daily life, and when a disc starts to bulge or herniated, and pinch the spinal cord or nerves, it can cause a lot of pain.

"We're trying to preserve as much motion in your neck as possible while achieving decompression of the nerves so that your pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness improves," said Dr. Mark Duncan, Neurosurgeon.

Dr. Mark Duncan says that often involves surgery. And while in the past they've done a surgery called a fusion, that takes away mobility in the affected area, this new surgery could change that.

"Now we can offer patients a surgery where we take the pressure off of the nerve and they can maintain their motion."

While the two procedures are fairly similar, Dr. Duncan explains that the Mobi-C artificial cervical disc has more benefits.

"In both cases we are going to remove the disc and we're going to take the pressure off the nerve. With artificial disc surgery we remove the herniated disc, take the pressure off the nerve, and then we measure for an artificial disc. We get the right size, we put it in between the bones in the neck and it stays there. You're able to flex. You're able to extend. You're able to rotate your neck. At that level which you're not able to do with fusion,” explained Dr. Duncan.

Dr. Duncan says in a fusion, they may remove more bone, which takes longer to recover and heal from than with the artificial disc.

"Your body's not trying to grow bone together like it is in cervical fusion. So your neck is as stable as it's going to get."

With cervical fusion, it may take up to 8 weeks to recover, while only 6 to 8 weeks for the artificial disc surgery. And Dr. Duncan says some patients have reported going back to work as early as 4 weeks.

"What I'm seeing is patients returning to their regular activities earlier. I'm seeing less post-operative neck pain, and less arm pain," said Duncan.

Dr. Duncan explained that with fusion, often it puts added stress on the levels above and below the fused bones. Which can land you back in the operating room within five years.

"If you make something so rigid, another part of that structure has to bear the stress. Artificial disc surgery prevents what we call adjacent segment disease. Which just means that the levels above and below a fusion are going to wear out before they normally would if you didn't have the surgery," Dr. Duncan explained.

Dr. Duncan says the artificial disc is made with the same material as that of an artificial hip or knee replacement and was FDA approved in 2013. If you have neck pain, numbness, weakness or tingling in your arms or hands, talk with your doctor to find out what your best options are for treatment.

For MedWatch 7, I'm Makenzie Burk.

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