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UCSF analysis shows newer surgery for neck pain may be better
Date:4/11/2011

A new surgery for cervical disc disease in the neck may restore range of motion and reduce repeat surgeries in some younger patients, according to a team of neurosurgeons from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and several other medical centers that analyzed three large, randomized clinical trials comparing two different surgeries.

More than 200,000 Americans undergo surgery every year to alleviate pain and muscle weakness from the debilitating condition caused by herniated discs in the neck. For some, the team found, arthroplasty may work better.

The results do not suggest that the older surgery is ineffective or unsafe, but that arthroplasty is a viable option for some.

"For people younger than 50 who have cervical disc disease, arthroplasty is a good option," said Praveen Mummaneni, MD, of the Department of Neurosurgery at UCSF.

Mumaneni and his colleagues are presenting their analysis today at the 79th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons in Denver.

Why Fewer Is Better

Neck surgery is not cheap and requires a patient to be placed under general anesthesia and a surgical team to perform the operation in a sterile room. They are typically reserved for patients who have failed to respond to other measures such as physical therapy or drugs, such as steroids.

For decades, the standard of care in this country was a procedure called anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. In this surgery, a surgeon cuts through the front of the neck, accessing the spine and removing the herniated disc, then replacing it with a piece of bone and a plate in the neck. That creates a solid union or fusion between two or more vertebrae to strengthen the spine.

Arthroplasty also begins with a surgery to remove the herniated disc. But instead of fusing the spine, the surgeon replaces the missing disc with an artificial one made of steel, plastic or titani
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Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jason.bardi@ucsf.edu
415-502-6397
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

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