What is bi-level disc replacement, and who is a candidate?
Dr. Rainey says: Disc replacement surgery refers to removing a disc from the cervical spine that is pinching either the spinal cord or a nerve and replacing that disc with a mobile joint. Traditionally, this type of problem – a disc herniation in the neck – is treated surgically by removing the disc and replacing it with a spacer that fuses the spine, which causes limited movement. By replacing the disc with a mobile joint instead, motion in the neck is maintained, and a patient recovers more quickly.
Patients with symptoms of arm pain, numbness or weakness resulting from a pinched nerve in the neck may be candidates for the procedure when nonoperative treatment has failed. Bi-level disc replacement refers to this procedure being performed at two different levels to address two different disc herniations; it is also performed as a one-level procedure.
Scott G. Rainey, DO, is a fellowship-trained orthopedic back and neck surgeon at Tri Rivers. He performs disc arthroplasty, discectomy, lumbar fusion, kyphoplasty and cervical fusion. He treats numerous back and neck conditions, including disc herniation; spinal stenosis; spinal arthritis and sciatica; cervical and lumbar degenerative disease; pinched back and neck nerves; compression fractures; spondylolisthesis; and pain associated with neurological disorders.