Murray resident Clayton Reynolds (shown with his wife Margie) recently became the first person in Utah to receive a two-level cervical artificial disc replacement.
For Clayton Reynolds, this Christmas will be the first holiday in years that he will celebrate pain free.
After working in the plumbing and construction industry for many years, Reynolds began experiencing pain in his left shoulder. Even after rotator cuff surgery, the pain didn’t abate. In fact, it started getting worse. The pain traveled down the left side of his neck, and he was beginning to lose feeling in the fingers on his left hand.
After consulting doctors, Reynolds learned he had two herniated discs in his neck that were causing the severe pain, numbness and loss of feeling. His options seemed limited. A nerve block was performed, but it only gave him a few hours of relief. He was facing the possibility of cervical spine fusion, a procedure that would severely limit his range of motion and could leave him unemployed.
“In my job, it was critical for me to keep that range of motion,” Reynolds said. “Plus, recovery time from a typical fusion procedure could take up to six months, and I wouldn’t be able to work during that time.”
But then Reynolds learned of a two-level artificial cervical disc implantation procedure performed by Dr. Armen Khachatryan at the Jordan Valley Medical Center that seemed like an answer to his prayers. When he started losing feeling in both hands, Reynolds knew he had to act quickly.
Khachatryan helped pioneer artificial disc surgery in Utah, and he knew the procedure was the best thing for Reynolds. The doctor worked to get the insurance company to approve the cutting-edge implantation, and on Sept. 25, Reynolds became the first Utahn to receive the two-level cervical artificial disc replacement.
“This surgery replaces fusion in the neck,” Khachatryan said. “I truly feel great when I can offer this option to my patients.”
Reynolds spent only one day in the hospital and within three weeks had full range of motion in his neck—and best of all, he is pain free.
“I came out of surgery and I was able to feel my fingers. I was just about in tears,” he said. “As the day went on, I couldn’t believe I had no more shoulder pain, no more neck pain. I was ecstatic. I cannot stress enough how lucky I feel and how relieved I am to wake up every day feeling like my neck’s not broken.”
Now, the 54-year-old Murray resident can sleep without discomfort, hold his grandchildren without fear of losing his grip, and he will return to work in mid-December.
“There are a tremendous number of patients who have gone to the doctor and been given the option of fusion only,” Khachatryan said. “We want to let people know that this technology is available to them.”