Australian-first surgery has patient back in action


After almost 10 years of debilitating neck and back pain as a result of a farming accident, Jason Ogden is pain-free thanks to a multilevel disc replacement

Mr Ogden, a 42-year-old IT analyst at the University of the Sunshine Coast, was just weeks away from having his neck fused – the traditional treatment for collapsed or bulging cervical discs that can leave a patient with permanent pain and loss of mobility.

Mr Ogden said it wasn’t an option he was comfortable with but it was a fate he was willing to accept.

“I was no longer coping with my injury. I had been in a lot of pain and on a huge amount of medication for so long and it just wasn’t working anymore,” he said. “I was reluctant to have my discs fused but I felt like I had no other option. I just couldn’t take the pain any longer.”

Luckily for Mr Ogden, Brisbane Private Hospital neurosurgeon Dr David Johnson gave him an alternative. “It was like serendipity,” said Mr Ogden.

“Just when I had come to terms with having to have the fusion, Dr Johnson gave me another option that had just become available – one that would give me a better prognosis and take less recovery time. I jumped on it and now I couldn’t be happier.”

In an Australian-first, Dr Johnson performed a multi-level cervical disc replacement using new artificial discs that have a unique mobile core. These new prosthesis preserve the Change in fate Australian-first surgery has patient back in action natural motion of the neck and their compact design means multiple implants can be inserted without over distracting the neck.

Dr Johnson said this new technology is showing great promise for better outcomes in people with multi-level neck disease when compared to fusion. “Older style surgery fused the neck, leaving the patient with ongoing pain and stiffness, making even the simplest of tasks like reverse parking, painful and difficult,” he said.

“These new implants have a mobile core which mimics a healthy spine and results in faster recovery times and there is no loss of cervical movement, particularly if multiples of segments of the spine need to be addressed surgically.” Dr Johnson said while other prosthetic discs had been around for some time, most were very bulky and were still constrained in the movement they provided.

“These new devices are low profile which is especially good for older patients who have collapsed discs, as there is not a lot of space to insert them,” he said. “The compactness also allows for multi-level disc replacements which is what we performed with Jason.

“Thanks to this new technology, Jason will regain the mobility of a healthy spine and be able to live a life free of pain from his injury.” Now seven months since the surgery, Mr Ogden said he is back at work and living a normal life again.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to move around freely and live my life without pain,” he said. “I could feel the results immediately after the surgery and now, seven months later, I am feeling great and back into my normal day to day activities. “The pain from the original injury is gone altogether now. It is almost like I never had the injury to begin with.

“I could not be more pleased with the outcome and hope this will help others take the leap if this is an option for them to be pain free as well.Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Dr Johnston and his entire team, I am so happy.”