I heard you can get disc replacements now. Are these available for the neck? I have two discs that have to be removed. Maybe I could get them replaced instead.

Artificial disc replacements (ADR) are currently used only in the lumbar spine. Researchers are trying to develop an ADR for the neck (cervical spine). Thoracic disc replacements will probably come next.

The first cervical ADR was done in 2002 by surgeons at the Indiana Spine Group (Indianapolis, Indiana). Clinical trials are currently underway. Two artificial cervical disc replacement devices undergoing FDA approval are the Bryan disc and the Prestige disc.

The Bryan disc is a metal-on-plastic design. The Prestige disc is metal-on-metal (stainless steel). The results of this trial will be ready in the next year or two. The FDA will use the study results to decide if cervical ADRs can be released for use in the general public.

Ten centers in the U.S. are also doing clinical trials using PRODISC-C® Total Cervical Disc Replacement. You can go on-line and find a list of these centers (http://www.spineuniverse.com/displayarticle.php/article2461.html). You may want to contact the closest one to you to see if you qualify to participate in the study.