Altoona, Blair County, Pa. - Pinched nerves or herniated discs in your neck can cause severe pain down your arms, as well as numbness, pain, and weakness in your hands. Usually, physical therapy, and medication ease those symptoms , but, not always, so some patients turn to surgery. Now, local residents can get a new FDA approved procedure that may give quicker, better results than traditional surgery.
"I had a lot of numbness weakness, things like that in my arms, where I was trying to hold stuff, constantly things were falling out of my hand," Randy Price says. When physical therapy and medication didn't relieve his symptoms, the 34-year-old Hastings man and his doctor decided on surgery.
At Allegheny Brain and Spine Surgeons in Altoona, Dr. Matthew Maserati says, "we're seeing more and more patients who. typically, all we had to offer them was a fusion procedure and particularly younger patients, who want to go back to work, who can still use that preserved motion."
The neurosurgeon now has a new option to offer those patients. He says he recently became the first doctor in the region to offer 2 level disc replacement..
"It's spine surgery, it involves negotiating the spinal nerves, and the spinal cords, so it's high priced real estate, but it is routine surgery. For us, it's surgery that we do every week," Dr. Maserati says.
Instead of removing the damaged discs and fusing the bones, the traditional surgery, Dr Maserati replaces the discs at 2 levels. The new discs bend left to right and front to back, and rotate.
The advantage is that they can are encouraged to continue moving their neck right after surgery so there's also less post operative neck stiffens and pain," Dr. Maserati says. "They get back to doing things around the house and even back to work much sooner," he adds.
Randy says, "the very next morning, I was in the hospital, Dr. Maserati came in took the neck brace off, told me to look up, look down, look left, look right, and he said from this point, wear the brace as needed and that was it."
He was allow to go back to work two weeks following the procedure. Three-and-a-half months after surgery a slight scar on the neck, is about the only visible sign of his treatment. Randy says he'd do it again in a heartbeat.
Dr. Maserati says , since as we age the joints in our neck become less mobile, so typically older patients aren't eligible for this procedure.