I wanted to share my Mobi-C story to inform potential recipients of how the implants changed my quality of life and how quickly I recovered from surgery.
About a week into January 2016, I started having an annoying left arm pain. After about 2 weeks, the pain became more intense, especially when I turned my head or rotated my neck which led me to believe the issue was in my neck. The pain was burning, searing, that later remained constant. Holding my arm above my head was the only position that helped.
As a police detective and digital forensics examiner, the pain made it where I could not preform my duties. I could not examine/analyze potential criminal information/evidence or interview witnesses as pain made it too bothersome. Computer work and driving was the worst. Even my bosses could see I was hurting. I went to two Chiropractors. One Chiropractor adjusted my spine several times, which would temporarily relieve some of the pain, but it always returned. He also put me on a cervical traction machine, several times, but it did not help. My Chiropractor also suspected the problem was in my neck and ordered an MRI to confirm. The MRI showed two ruptured discs at C5&C6 and C6&C7 levels.
I then scheduled appointments with surgeons in the Greater Columbus Ohio area over a few weeks. I met with 3 different surgeons, all of which recommended physical therapy and more traction. If the therapy and traction did not resolve my pain, every surgeon recommended discectomy and fusion surgery. One surgeon said that after surgery, I would be in a neck brace for six weeks. Another said I would be braced for two weeks and then several weeks of limited activity. One surgeon prescribed steroid injections to lessen the pain so I would be able to do physical therapy. The first round of injections did not relieve my pain, but I still wanted to try physical therapy.
I met with the therapist at my Chiropractors office, who tried to perform exercises and massages on my neck, but the pain was too intense for me to complete the therapy. After 3 visits to the therapist, she pretty much told me there was nothing more she could do. I continued visits to the Chiropractor and traction. I even bought an expensive in-home traction unit and used it numerous times along with a cervical pillow. Nothing was helping.
At this point, it was over two months of constant searing pain. The pain grew more intense behind my shoulder, forearm and into my hand. I noticed my thumb, index and middle fingers were going numb. I felt my left arm becoming weaker. It got to the point where I could not sleep. If I did sleep it was on the couch because I did not want to keep my wife up all night by my constant tossing and turning. I used cushions to prop up my left arm, but elevating it stopped working. I wasn’t getting anything done around the house either. All I wanted to do after work was go home and try to sleep. All my outdoor hobbies had come to a halt.
I discussed the options with my wife and we both agreed that surgery was the only option left. I scheduled surgery with a surgeon in Columbus, which was two weeks before surgery took place. During that time, I did some more internet research and read about the Mobi-C replacement discs and how the devices were the only implants FDA approved for two-level disc replacement. I also read how studies have shown that replacement discs, especially two-level, is superior to fusion as there is no loss of motion and lessens the chance of adjacent disc degeneration.
Using the Mobi-C's website surgeon finder, I found the Mayfield Clinic in Cincinnati Ohio had several skilled neurosurgeons implanting the device. I then forwarded my information to Dr. William Tobler with Mayfield Clinic, who reviewed my MRI and schedule an appointment promptly.
At my appointment, Dr. Tobler wasted no time telling me that since all conservative treatments have failed, it was time for surgery. He showed me a model of the Mobi-C, and said he would replace both ruptured discs with the device. He said recovery time is much quicker and I would not have to wear a neck brace. Without hesitating, I told Dr. Tobler and his staff to schedule surgery.
My insurance would have to approve the surgery before they proceeded. Since artificial discs, especially two level replacement, is a newer procedure, I was worried my insurance would reject the surgery. A few days later, I received a call from Dr. Tobler's office, who said the insurance approved the surgery and they could schedule it right away.
The scheduler said the first open date was April 6th, which is my birthday. I discussed it briefly with my wife, and we agreed that if the Mobi-C implants relieved me of my pain, numbness and weakness, AND I would recover much quicker, it would be the best birthday gift ever. On my birthday (3 months after the onset of pain) , my wife drove me to the Christ Spine Surgery Center and I was prepped for surgery.
Dr. Tobler came in and explained he would be making an incision in the front of the neck to access my spine. He said he would move my wind pipe and esophagus to the side, which would probably result in a sore throat when I woke up. I was wheeled into surgery and put under anesthetic. When I woke up, I felt the incision and neck and both shoulders and upper back were very sore, but I felt fine. I remember picking up the remote to change the room TV channel with my left hand, and to my amazement my left arm pain was almost all gone. I told my wife and we both smiled. When I turned my head, the pain the radiated from shoulder to my hand was also gone. During my overnight stay, my shoulders remained sore and it hurt to swallow, but it was manageable.
That morning, I ate breakfast and was released a few hours later. During the next week, my shoulders and upper back were sore. It was bothersome to swallow, but that went away after about 4 days. The incision was held together by glue and inner stitches. With all of that, I was still able to rotate my neck, shower, eat, walk, etc without problems.
My arm pain was gone. Some numbness and weakness persisted, but that went away after about 3 weeks. Two weeks after surgery, I was able to attend a two-week out of state computer forensic course. After that, I returned to work and picked up where I left off prior to the pain setting in. Fishing, yard work, running with our dogs or whatever my wife assigns me to do was back on my "to do list."
A month after surgery, I had a follow up appointment with Dr.Tobler, who examined me and felt I was healing well. Yesterday, I had another follow-up appointment and Xrays were taken of my neck and Dr. Tobler was pleased with the images and how the Mobi-C were seated.
A resident neurosurgeon, Dr. Krueger, advised me that I was the first two-level disc replacement patient he has seen. In closing, I am extremely pleased with the results of my Mobi-C replacement discs. Not only do you preserve your range of motion, but it minimizes the risk of adjacent discs degenerating prematurely. Plus, after surgery, there is no neck brace to wear and recovery is a breeze. Thank you for giving me a chance to share my story.