Health and Fitness

November 2, 2012

From: Dignity Health - Mercy Gilbert Medical Center
Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, a Dignity Healthâ„¢ Member, was the first hospital in Arizona to complete cervical disc replacement using a new device called the BRYAN® Cervical Disc System. Marco Marsella, M.D., performed this alternative procedure to cervical spine fusion on Oct. 15, the first to be completed in the state without being part of a clinical trial. Having been trained specifically in complex spine pathology and skull base surgery, Dr. Marsella called the BRYAN® Cervical Disc System an outstanding achievement in the advancement of treating degenerative disc disease. Although other types of disc replacement are available the BRYAN® Disc replacement is thought to be closer to a natural disc. According to Dr. Marsella, the first patient treated with the BRYAN® Cervical Disc System at Mercy Gilbert Medical Center was discharged within 23 hours, pain-free and with a significantly improved neurological exam despite having permanent spinal cord damage. Disc degeneration commonly results from age and/or injury and can lead to herniation (ruptured disc) or spondylotic growth (bone spurs). People with cervical disc herniation or spondylotic growth may have one or more of the following symptoms: neck pain, radiating arm pain, and temporary changes in nerve or spinal cord function that may result in tingling, numbness, or weakness in an arm or hand. Currently, the most common form of surgery for treating degenerative disc disease in the neck is cervical disc removal followed by fusion. "Spinal fusions can limit neck movement and may put additional stress on the discs above and below the fusion," said Dr. Marsella. "But the BRYAN® Cervical Disc System is designed to retain motion very much like a healthy disc and provides shock absorption similar to the natural disc." The BRYAN® Cervical Disc System, developed by neurosurgeon Vincent Bryan, M.D., features a prosthesis that is implanted in the cervical spine. The device is designed to maintain the surgical benefits of an anterior approach to the spine including the symptomatic relief associated with the surgical decompression. However, unlike fusion, the damaged disc is replaced with the prosthesis, which is designed to maintain motion rather than limiting it. The implant incorporates an elastic nucleus to theoretically provide the shock absorption that a cervical fusion cannot. "The ability to provide this innovative surgical advancement to patients who suffer from degenerative disc disease allows them to experience a better quality of life," said Tim Bricker, president and CEO of Chandler Regional and Mercy Gilbert Medical Centers. "We are proud to bring this new technology into the community." Marco Marsella, M.D. and Taro Kaibara, M.D. have both received special training in the use of the BRYAN® Cervical Disc System. Neurosurgical services are available 24 hours, seven days a week at Mercy Gilbert Medical Center. To learn more, please visit MercyGilbert.org.