The Disc Docs
New Disc Replacement Device Provides Increased Range of Motion
Cesar Alvarado-Alva, 44, suffered for years from debilitating back pain caused by lumbar degenerative disc disease.
“For sixteen years I tried everything—physical therapy, medication, exercise. I was at the point where I couldn’t walk, drive, sit or lie down without severe pain,” he said.
A nerve blocking treatment did help Alvarado- Alva temporarily, but wasn’t going to remain effective long term. Fortunately, while investigating possible surgical procedures, he was referred to GARY DIX, M.D., a neurosurgeon at Anne Arundel Medical Center. Dr. Dix, along with his partners BRIAN SULLIVAN, M.D., and TIMOTHY BURKE, M.D., is conducting a clinical trial using a new disc replacement device, the Kineflex disc.
“The Kineflex disc is innovative because of the materials used, the way it is constructed, and the range of motion it allows,” said Dr. Dix. “It is especially helpful in cases like Mr. Alvarado- Alva’s, where patients need help with degenerative disc problems at a relatively young age.”
The Kineflex disc is made of titanium in a cobalt chromium alloy. It is constructed with scored sections called keels or fins that keep the disc positioned in the spine, and has a flexible locking mechanism that allows for bending in all planes and greater translational motion, explained Dr. Dix.
AAMC Medical Staff Who Perform Disc Replacement Surgery:
Roy Bands, M.D.
Timothy Burke, M.D.
Gary Dix, M.D.
Thomas Ducker, M.D.
Stephen Faust, M.D.
Joseph Sohn, M.D.
Alessandro Speciale, M.D.
Brian Sullivan, M.D.
William Urban, M.D.
“Some devices are limited in the way they allow a person to twist, rotate, and bend forward and backward,” said Dr. Dix. “This disc is constructed to mimic the motion of the cervical and lumbar discs in their natural setting.”
Once Alvarado-Alva qualified for the trial, Dr. Dix performed the replacement to correct his condition. Soon after the surgery Alvarado-Alva was up and walking with no back pain. A few months later he said his pain is virtually gone.
“Right away I felt much better than I anticipated. On my first follow up everyone was surprised at how quick and great my recovery has been,”he said.
Mr. Alvarado-Alva said he was excited to be one of the first patients in the area to take advantage of this new disc technology. “Dr. Dix explained that this disc has been used for years in other parts of the world and has a good record. He inspired me. I talked to lots of other doctors about my pain, but when I met him, I thought, ‘He’s the one,’” he said. “For anyone thinking about this surgery, I would tell them to go for it.”
The Kineflex trial includes disc devices for both cervical and lumbar replacement. AAMC is one of only three locations in the Mid-Atlantic region conducting research in this new disc technology. For more information, contact askAAMC at 443-481-4000.