Category: Health

Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement

Dr Paul McDonough MD pic
Dr Paul McDonough MD

Paul W. McDonough, MD, performs surgeries of the spine as a member of Orthopaedic Associates of Abilene, Texas. In his free time, Dr. Paul McDonough enjoys reading about new spine surgery techniques that may help him to better treat his patients.

Traditionally, patients with pain caused by cervical degenerative disc disease have found their surgical treatments limited to anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). This procedure enables the surgeon to remove the herniated disc and introduce a graft that joins the surrounding bones. It is generally successful in relieving pain, but it may limit the patient’s range of motion.

An artificial cervical disc replacement also involves the removal of the diseased disc. Unlike an ACDF procedure, however, this surgery places a specially designed device in the space where the removed disc was located.

The disc replacement device allows the patient to move his or her neck normally and often results in earlier cervical motion following surgery. It also reduces the degeneration of adjacent spinal segments that would have been involved in the fusion procedure, while removing any risks associated with bone grafting or related hardware.

Everyday Causes of Neck Pain

Neck Pain pic
Neck Pain

Surgeon and spine specialist Paul McDonough, MD, is board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. After completing a residency and fellowship in orthopedic and spinal surgery, Dr. Paul McDonough devoted his practice completely to the treatment of neck and spine pain. Conditions treated by Dr. McDonough include degenerative arthritis, pain radiating into the arms, and neck pain.

At some point in their lives, most people will experience neck pain, typically characterized by stiffness and soreness of the neck muscles and difficulty in turning the head from side to side. While there are many serious causes of neck pain, such as herniated discs, stenosis (a narrowing of the opening in the vertebrae), and degenerative arthritis, there are many everyday causes of neck pain that a healthy person can watch for and avoid.

Sleeping with the neck in an awkward position is one of the most common causes of neck strain, which can be helped or avoided by carefully choosing the proper size and firmness of the pillow one sleeps on.

Poor posture while sitting at a computer for prolonged periods is another cause of neck pain. Slouching and leaning one’s head down and toward a monitor or any other device should be avoided. Keep the head balanced over the shoulders, allowing the neck muscles to maintain the head upright with minimal effort. Try to raise the top of the computer screen nearly to eye level, and if you must look down, do so by lowering your eyes, not your head.

Holding the head in an unnatural position, such as cradling a phone between the ear and the shoulder, is another common cause of neck strain. If one’s hands need to be free while talking, use a computer or cell phone headset so that you can maintain a healthy posture while talking.

An Innovation in Lighting for Surgeons

Waveguide XT System pic
Waveguide XT System

Dr. Paul McDonough received his MD from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, where he graduated first in his class in surgery. At his practice in Abilene, Texas, Dr. Paul McDonough has performed more than 5,000 neck and spine surgeries. He is always searching for innovative procedures or technologies that can assist him in helping his patients, such as the Waveguide XT System.

Invuity, Inc., created the Waveguide XT System surgical site illuminator to enable surgeons to have a light source within inches of the tissue they are working on. Designed to be attached to retractors (devices used to hold open surgical incisions), the illuminator shines a broad, diffused, all-encompassing light while the device itself remains cool to the touch. The light is shaped such that it can even be brought inside the surgical cavity in larger procedures, generating for surgeons a quality and quantity of illumination not possible using standard overhead operating room lighting systems.

The patented drop-in light source uses Invuity’s patented Photonic technology, with the light traveling through fiber optic cables to a solid-core, optimal polymer, which then diffuses the light.

“Text Neck” Related to Looking Down and Texting on Devices

Text Neck
Text Neck

A fellowship-trained spinal surgeon, Dr. Paul W. McDonough assists patients throughout the Abilene, Texas, community. A strong believer in preventive health care, Paul McDonough, MD, engages closely with patients in emphasizing ways of maintaining proper spine and back health.

Within a highly connected world, people are increasingly tied to their devices wherever they go, and they can experience previously rare posture issues that are now linked to habitual texting or otherwise looking at a smartphone. “Text neck” can occur in a number of ways, and it is commonly caused by dropping your head in a forward direction to focus on a small screen.

When in a proper upright position, the neck muscles can comfortably support a weight of up to 12 pounds. Each inch that your head drops results in a doubling of the load on the neck muscles. When looking down at your smartphone, with your chin close to your chest, this load increases to the equivalent of about 60 pounds. This type of posture is responsible for muscle and back strain and also impairs the ability of the lungs to expand, which makes the heart work harder to supply needed oxygen throughout the body. “Text neck” can be avoided by holding the phone higher, at or near eye level, and limiting the time spent on mobile devices.

Relieving Back Pain through Exercise and Alignment

Dr Paul McDonough MD pic
Dr Paul McDonough MD

As fellowship-trained spine surgeon, Paul W. McDonough, MD, treats a variety of conditions that cause back and neck pain through Orthopaedic Associates of Abilene. Dr. Paul McDonough upholds a commitment to helping his patients minimize their discomfort through healthy body mechanics.

Approximately 80 percent of people living in the United States will experience back pain at least once in their lives. Such pain may arise as a result of injury or simply from the stresses of daily living. In either case, good alignment habits can play a role in minimizing discomfort and promoting long-term back health. Individuals both with and without back pain should take care to stand or sit with the shoulders over the hips, as any curving forward or leaning back can affect spinal curvature.

Exercise also plays a key role in minimizing back pain, even for those with injuries. Experts recommend activities that are not overly strenuous, but that mobilize the spine without causing pain. Working on the core muscles can help to strengthen the torso and reduce pressure on the back, while increasing flexibility can serve to reduce tightness and balance the way the body carries weight.