Neurosurgeon inserts first artificial neck disc

Dr. Steven Hysell became one of the first neurosurgeons in the Central Valley to insert the PRESTIGE Cervical Disc, the first artificial neck disc commercially available in the United States.

The artificial disc, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2007, gives patients another option for overcoming intolerable neck or arm pain and regaining function. It also allows some patients battling degenerative disc disease the potential for motion.

The traditional procedure used to treat these patients, a spinal fusion, in which a bone graft and metal plate are implanted to fuse the vertebrae together, may limit motion. More than 200,000 cervical procedures are performed each year to relieve compression on the spinal cord or nerve roots.

“I believe the new artificial disc technology offers patients a choice in treatment options,” Dr. Hysell said. “Patients can choose to have the artificial disc because they don’t want to lose any range of motion associated with a cervical fusion.”

The PRESTIGE Cervical Disc is designed to maintain motion and flexibility while replacing a diseased disc that is removed from a patient’s cervical spine.

As part of the FDA approval process, a seven-year study is being conducted to evaluate the long-term safety and effectiveness of the procedure. In a clinical trial already completed with 541 patients, the PRESTIGE Cervical Disc had superior outcomes in neurological success, as well as overall success, when compared to spinal fusion.

“As an active mom and an amateur triathlete, the PRESTIGE disc gave me back my life,” said Stacey Brickson, a patient enrolled in the clinical study from Madison, Wis. “I had so much pain and disability from an auto accident that I could not even lift my head off a pillow before I got the PRESTIGE disc, and I was too active to even think about a spinal fusion.”

More than 1,000 of these artificial disc implants have been performed nationwide since the approval.

This story was reported by Eddie Hughes. He can be reached at