Ask the MSK Expert: Bi-level disc replacement


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.

Physician Spotlight

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.

Dr. Rainey sees patients in our BHS Crossroads Campus and Slippery Rock offices. To schedule an appointment with him, or any other Tri Rivers provider, please call 1-866-874-7483 or click here.