AAMC Neurosurgeon Conducts FDA Trials for Neck Pain
Neurosurgeon Brian Sullivan, M.D., a member of Anne Arundel Medical Center’s (AAMC) Medical Staff and a partner in the Maryland Neurological Institute (MNI), has been selected to conduct FDA trials for a revolutionary surgical alternative to treating cervical spine disease. AAMC is participating in a multi-center, randomized trial using a device manufactured by Spinal Dynamics of Seattle, Washington.
The two-hour procedure, which is performed under general anesthesia, involves inserting a device about the size of a Lifesaver into any of the cervical disc spaces between vertebrae 3 – 7. Traditional treatment for cervical spine disease calls for inserting bone in the space between these vertebrae, then fusing the vertebrae together — a procedure that leaves that section of the neck virtually immobile.
“The beauty of using the cervical disc prosthesis is that it not only repairs the condition but also permits the patient to move his neck freely,” said Dr. Sullivan. “Fusion has been used for decades to restore the natural function of the vertebrae, but it involved permanent immobilization of that area. We are very excited about this new prosthesis because of its benefits to the patient.”
Dr. Vincent Bryan, a neurosurgeon who practices in Seattle, Washington, is the inventor of the prosthesis. It is a deceptively simple looking device that involves “some very aggressive mechanical engineering,” according to Dr. Sullivan. Candidates for the new procedure should be over 21, have had no prior neck surgery and whose condition has not been helped by such non-surgical remedies as physical therapy or injections. Causes for the condition can be a result of trauma, genetic predisposition or degeneration of the discs through wear and tear. Disc herniation is the most common cause.
MNI’s connection to the FDA trials is an offshoot of professional interaction between the inventor and Thomas Ducker, M.D., an internationally known neurosurgeon and member of the medical staffs at AAMC and The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Ducker is a co-founder of the Maryland Neurological Institute, together with neurosurgeon Clifford T. Solomon, M.D.
Dr. Sullivan is a graduate of Georgetown University Medical School and completed his residency in neurosurgery at George Washington University Hospital. For more information on the new procedure and how to qualify, call 410-266-2721.