Upstate News

February 9, 2007
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

University Hospital offers less invasive surgery for degenerative disc disease

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Adults who have been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease of the lower back (lumbar area) and whose pain has failed to improve after at least six months of non?surgical treatment, such as physical therapy or medication, may be a candidate for ProDisc?L Total Disc Replacement surgery, now available at University Hospital.

The surgery involves the placement of a ball and socket implant to relieve pain associated with the disease while maintaining motion in the affected area, unlike traditional spinal fusion surgery that relieves pain but leaves the affected area immobilized. It is believed that maintaining motion may allow the spine to remain healthier longer. The implant was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration following favorable results of the use of the device from a U.S. clinical study.

Amir Fayyazi, MD, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at SUNY Upstate, was a co?investigator of the clinical trial that included 15 study sites nationwide, including University Hospital. Fayyazi joins a select number of surgeons from the across the United States who have been chosen to perform the surgery.

“The study evaluated the safety and effectiveness of ProDisc total disc replacement with spinal fusion surgery for the treatment of discogenic pain at one or two adjacent vertebral levels between the lumbar [lower] and sacrum [tail bone/ areas of the spine,” said Fayyazi. “Findings demonstrated that the patients who received the ProDisc?L implant had improvement in function comparable to patients who had fusion surgery when evaluated two years after surgery.”

During both total disc replacement surgery and spinal fusion surgery, the pain?generating disc is removed. Both treatments are usually effective for relieving pain. However spinal fusion surgery involves a bone graft, usually obtained from the patient’s hipbone through a separate incision. After surgery, bone is supposed to grow between the two vertebrae, creating one solid piece of bone that does not allow for mobility.

Physicians say this new surgery offers an alternative to rigid spinal fusion, eliminates the need to harvest bone graft from the hip, preserves intervertebral motion and restores spinal stability.

“Because the patient avoids the pain and healing time associated with bone grafts, there is less risk for complications,” Fayyazi said.

Patients undergoing this new disc replacement surgery are placed under general anesthesia and lie on their backs while the surgeon makes an incision below the navel of approximately three to five inches. The unhealthy disc is removed through the incision and replaced with the implant. Patients should expect a hospital stay of at least a few days.

Physician referrals are preferred. For more information about ProDisc?L Total Disc Replacement, call 315?464?8623.

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