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What is Mobi-C?

Mobi-C is an FDA-approved artificial cervical disc from Zimmer Biomet designed to maintain neck motion. It is employed in one- and two-level cervical disc replacement from C3 to C7 and is intended to restore/maintain disc height and segmental motion and alleviate pain and loss of motion in patients with degenerative disc disease and disc herniation.

Cervical disc replacement or arthroplasty is a surgical procedure in which damaged or diseased discs located between the bones of the cervical spine (neck vertebrae) are removed and replaced with a mechanical disc device such as Mobi-C that mimics the function of a natural disc while preserving natural range of motion and function.

Cervical Spine Anatomy

The spine, also called the backbone, plays a vital role in stability, smooth movement, and protection of the delicate spinal cord. It is made up of bony segments called vertebrae with fibrous tissue called intervertebral discs between them. The vertebrae and discs form the spinal column from the neck to the pelvis, giving symmetry and support to the body.

The spine can be divided into 4 parts: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral region. The cervical spine comprises the first 7 vertebrae, which form the neck. The neck bears the weight of the head, allows a significant amount of movement, and is less protected than other parts of the spine. All these factors make the neck more susceptible to injury or other painful disorders.

Indications for Mobi-C

Your surgeon may recommend Mobi-C to treat cervical spinal conditions such as disc herniation and degenerative disc disease.

Degenerative disc disease (DDD) refers to the gradual deterioration of the intervertebral discs between the vertebrae. DDD is a misnomer as it is not actually a disease but a condition that affects the strength, resilience, and structural integrity of the intervertebral discs due to advancing age, trauma, injury, repetitive movement, improper posture, or poor body mechanics. DDD is commonly seen in individuals over 50 years of age.

Disc herniation is a condition where the central nucleus pushes through the outer edge of the disc, causing a bulge that compresses the spinal nerves. A herniated disc is commonly seen in the cervical or neck region and is called a cervical herniated disc (CHD). This condition is frequently reported in people between 30-40 years of age as well as elderly people.

Common surgical treatment for both conditions includes removal of the unhealthy disc followed by disc replacement and/or fusion.

Who is a Good Candidate for Mobi-C?

You may be a good candidate for Mobi-C cervical disc placement if you meet the following conditions:

  • An adult with vertebral maturity (age range of 21 to 67 years)
  • Spondylosis (degeneration of the spine from wear and tear)
  • Herniated nucleus pulposus (inner disc squeezing through the outer disc)
  • Damaged disc irritating the nerve roots (radiculopathy) or spinal cord (myelopathy), causing pain and/or neurological symptoms like weakness, numbness, tingling, loss of motion, and loss of feeling
  • Loss of disc height compared to the levels below and above
  • Failure of the non-surgical treatment to alleviate symptoms

How Does Mobi-C Work?

During cervical disc replacement surgery with the Mobi-C Cervical Disc, the damaged disc is removed, but instead of placing a plastic implant or bone spacer together with a plate and screws, a Mobi-C disc is inserted into the space. It takes the place of one or two damaged cervical discs next to each other (adjacent or contiguous) from levels C3 to C7. Where a fusion surgery is designed to eliminate motion at the levels of surgery, the objective of surgery with Mobi-C is to enable motion at those levels.

Both Mobi-C artificial disc and fusion surgery replace the unhealthy disc and try to match the height of the healthy disc to help decompress or untrap any nerves. But only the Mobi-C implant tries to maintain neck motion and fits entirely within the disc space. Mobi-C differs from other cervical discs due to its one-step insertion, with no additional exposure or operative steps needed for screw or keel placement, and bone sparing technique, which removes the need for drilling and bone chiseling, and optimizes it for two-level implantations. Additionally, the patented mobile core technology is the foundation of Mobi-C that allows the Mobi-C to angulate and slide in multiple directions similar to natural cervical motion.

Benefits of Mobi-C

Some of the key benefits of Mobi-C implantation include:

  • Replaces damaged, herniated, or worn out cervical discs
  • May help to restore/maintain neck motion including turning left to right, bending side to side, and bending forward to back
  • Matches disc height to the levels above and below and removes pressure on the pinched nerves
  • May prevent adjacent level degeneration, potentially preventing future surgeries
  • May ease neck and/or arm pain
  • May alleviate neurologic symptoms like arm tingling
  • May assist you to get back to your normal life of family, work, and fun
  • Lower rates of major complications and reoperation compared to a traditional cervical fusion procedure
  • Faster recovery and higher Neck Disability Index (NDI) success rate compared to cervical fusion

Risks of Mobi-C

Mobi-C implantation is a relatively safe procedure; however, as with any surgery, some risks and complications may occur, such as the following:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Allergic reaction
  • Adverse reactions to anesthesia
  • Issues with wound healing including pain
  • Reduced neck motion than prior to surgery
  • Failure of the implant, including breaking, wearing, or moving
  • The need for additional surgery
  • Recurrent spinal problem at the level of the surgery
  • Occurrence of a new spinal problem below or above the treated spinal levels
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