I've heard that some of the devices implanted during neck surgery can break or malfunction. Are there any new types of implants out there with better results?

It's true that, in some cases, metal hardware has broken or been associated with other complications. Some of the devices available aren't as effective or stable as surgeons would like.

Doctors are constantly working on new hardware systems. An article recently presented results of a new device made in France. This device, called the PCB, is placed between the vertebrae to create a solid bone fusion. The PCB has a "cage" that holds chips of bone graft material, making it impossible for the chips to fall out of place. The PCB also has a plate that fits between vertebral discs to prevent them from collapsing together.

The PCB was used on 29 patients with excellent results. Twenty-seven of the patients showed improvement five months to two years after surgery.

There were no complications from the PCB. It immediately created enough stability in the neck that it decreased pain without the need for a neck brace. The PCB maintained the space between vertebral discs. It also corrected the normal curve of the neck.

Every new device goes through extensive testing before it goes into wide use. Doctors are just beginning to investigate the PCB as a safe surgical option. However, the results for this and other new devices look promising so far.