This story is from the category Augmenting Organics
Date posted: 21/10/2007
The cervical spine is where the spine enters the neck. It is made from seven vertebrae separated from one another by a disk. Each disk is a cushion designed to stop the vertebrae grinding together, and absorb shock from any movement. There is one disk per vertebrae, making seven in all.
If a disk slips, or is damaged, vertebrae grind against one another, and the spinal cord is pinched. This causes excruciating pain, and reduces the amount of movement the person has. Traditionally the solution has been to fuse vertebrae together, reducing neck movement, and whilst not alleviating the pressure on the spinal cord ? which still has lessened signal strength ? it does make the condition more bearable.
For the first time, a prosthetic cervical disk has now been developed. Brainchild of the American firm Medtronic Spinal and Biologics, and codenamed Prestige, the device simulates the shock absorption and flexibility of a natural spinal disc.
Screwed directly into the spinal column, once in place, it is not going to move, and replaces the full function of the missing natural disc, preventing the spinal cord from becoming squished between vertebrae.
Dr. John Campbell of St. Bernards hospital, in Arkansas, who has implanted the prosthetic in patients, said "On average we expect patients to return to work about 16 days earlier [than with a vertebrae fusion]."
"The Prestige Disc is probably going to revolutionise cervical spine surgery,"
Doctor Campbell says it works well for treating long-term degeneration of a disc, but.. "In cases of severe trauma, where there's large grievant stability of the cervical spine, those patients are going to have a traditional cervical fusion performed.?
The procedure involves removing the damaged disc entirely, replacing it with the prosthetic disc.
"Patient selection is very important," Campbell emphasises, adding that the surgery "will benefit patients who present with single-level disc herniation or spur with radiculopathy (disease process which affects the nerve root) or myelopathy (disease process which affects the spinal cord).?
The surgery itself averages about 1 ? hours, Campbell says, and the patient is hospitalised overnight. "It generally is about three weeks before the patient can go back to normal activities, though that can vary from patient to patient."
In the case of a fusion, that is normally six weeks.
225 disks were implanted in humans, in the clinical study.
See the full Story via external site: www.kait8.com
Most recent stories in this category (Augmenting Organics):
04/05/2013: Printable 'bionic' ear melds electronics and biology