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A. Nationwide Clinical Trial Tests an Artificial Cervical Disc

Narrator: This is Science Today. A group of neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons at the University of California at Davis Medical Center are taking part in a nationwide study investigating the use of an artificial cervical disc to surgically treat people with degenerative disc disease. Dr. Kee Kim, co-director of the medical center's Spine Program, says the current therapy is spinal fusion of damaged discs.

Kim: So, instead of fusing the spine, we still take the pressure off the spinal cord nerve by removing the disc and the bone spur, but we put in the device commonly referred to as artificial disc into where a disc used to be so that motion can still be preserved after the surgery instead of eliminating the motion with fusion surgery.

Narrator: The artificial disc mimics normal movement of the neck and could eliminate a second surgery that spinal fusion patients often have due to the added stress on discs adjacent to the fused section.

Kim: So, depending on how the outcome of this particular clinical trial is, the FDA may or may not approve its use.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.